I'm so glad this day is over. I would have done anything to skip this day in history. But I also wouldn't have missed it for the world. A funeral is such a mess of contradictions inside you. Loving my dad with intensity, but hating that he died. So proud of him, his life, who he was ... while in complete denial that his life is all past tense now. All too aware that he's gone from this life, but totally expecting him to come quietly up behind me and take his place in the empty chair to my right to watch this funeral with us. Enjoying every thought of him but feeling horrible pain from those very same thoughts.
Don't you think that just one teeny, tiny glimpse into heaven, just a deja vu flicker through your mind ... that it would clear up the whole mess quite nicely? Heaven and hell and eternity and God and sin and Christ and grace and life and time and death ... all of it would become crystal clear. It would be like one of those "ah-ha" moments in life. That one glimpse would give us all we need to live out tomorrow without the conflict of pain inside us. One tiny peek at heaven and we'd all say, "Ooooooooooh. I get it."
I've always loved the George MacDonald quote, "If you knew what God knows about death you would clap your listless hands."
It's right about there that faith has to kick in. Because I don't know, by personal experience, what God knows about death. This side of death, we simply don't get it. Death is so permanent and black and icky. But is it? Or is that just the side that we see and feel? Could there be a flip side? God says there is. An amazing flip side. Evidently death in Christ has a side to it that is permanently beautiful. That if we really could see it we'd all be fighting for first in line to get there.
I've never seen the pyramids in Egypt, but I have faith that they're there ... because someone else said so. I've never seen the streets of gold or the crystal sea or the throne of God in heaven, but I have faith that they're there ... because Someone else said so. Well, uh-huh, I get it that I could hop a plane and see, touch, taste, hear and smell the pyramids and verify them as fact. Well, maybe that's the sort of thing that happens when you pass from this life to the next. Heaven becomes fact.
I don't know. I'm just your average Joe without any great corner on empirical data trying to make sense of my day. I do have faith. Faith in the goodness of God and that truth is in Him. I'm going to crawl into bed now. And clap my listless hands for my dad.