Carole and I did something over these past few weeks that we’ve been meaning to redo for a long time — writing our will. Our daughter Sarah, concerned about our frequent travels, wanted us to have our affairs in order in case something happened to us. I had also seen first hand the importance of a “Power of Attorney” document when my Mom developed Alzheimer’s disease. We felt it would be wise stewardship to have all these things in place.
A couple of years ago I received a free copy of “Quicken Willmaker,” so I did our will on Willmaker and then made arrangements for all our documents to be reviewed, witnessed, and notarized by a local attorney. I’m writing this blog not to promote doing a will (although I think it is a wise and important thing to do) but because of the reaction we experienced at the attorney’s office.
First our attorney and then one of our witnesses expressed something akin to sympathy for us and certainly commiseration for the difficult thing we were doing in thinking about and talking about our deaths. Their reaction so surprised me that I did a poor job of expressing myself (not uncommon). I said something like, “If you know that you are going to heaven, death is not a fearful thing.” Thinking about and planning for our deaths had not been at all uncomfortable. Their reaction completely surprised us.
Afterwards, I thought about two Scripture passages. I thought of Philippians 1:21. For the believer, life or death is great. Of course, if Carole went to heaven before me, remaining behind would be unimaginably difficult. Yet, I can count on the sustaining grace of God in whatever trial may occur. I can rely upon God’s presence and the sure knowledge that He will do right by His child.
The other passage I thought of was Hebrews 2:14-15. It just seemed that for a brief moment in that attorney’s office the fear of death showed itself. Maybe I’m reading more into it than was there, but dealing with a will, a plan in case there was a death, pulled aside the curtain of illusion we use to hide the inevitable. We will all die. Some of us will die unexpectedly. I cannot confidently say that I will be on this earth next year. None of us can! Even those who regularly deal with wills seemed uncomfortable by the underlying reality!
At Christmas, we celebrated once again the reminder that Jesus took on “flesh and blood” to become like us. He did so with the specific purpose of dying in our place and for us. Through Him, and Him alone, all my sin, past, present, and future, is forgiven. By God’s grace He has granted me a place in heaven through the death and resurrection of His Son. How good to know that there is One who has rendered powerless the one, Satan, who had the power of death! Jesus has delivered the believer from the fear of death. We have the unbelievable privilege of telling others how they too can escape the fear of death.
I’m thankful we had that experience in the attorney’s office at the beginning of the year. Having the right perspective on life and death is a good way to move through a year.
I just thought of another passage, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.
I recently wrote about our visit to North Lansing (see picture above). If you would like to read more about North Lansing and see pictures of more than the cemetery, click on this link.