Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)
Mom had lived life in a way anyone would admire—with resilience and resolve, elegance and elan, wisdom and grace. A portrait of dignity. Now ravaged by disease and rapid in demise, she yet again showed a depth of understanding that people had come to respect in her: that so many of the things we value in this life—belongings and possessions, physical vigor and strength, steely independence—don’t follow us into the heavenly kingdom that awaits. “It all has to be stripped away, doesn’t it?” she mused. “Yes,” I replied, “I think you’re right.” We sat together in accepting silence.
But for the promise of eternal life, this would have been the stuff of tragedy. From the outside, pitiable; by human reckoning, outrageous. Yet as I watched Mom relinquish these things we so highly esteem, I couldn’t shake from my mind this perspective from the Psalms: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” It had long been for me a source of wonder and hope, but now the verse repeatedly came to mind and resoundingly came to life. For as Mom’s body steadily weakened toward its natural end, her soul yearned ever-stronger for a newness yet to come, reaching out for freedom from a body that now constrained her.
It is an experience that awaits all who trust in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul explains it for us: “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16, 17).
As Mom faded from this world and set her sites on the next, there was no loss of dignity; instead, we only saw her grow in it—true dignity, the dignity that is now and forever ours in Christ. Precious, indeed.
Lord Jesus, our dignity—indeed our glory—is found in you and only in you. Thank you. From the bottom of our heart, thank you. Amen.
The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
(1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
2 replies on “True Dignity”
Though I did not know your mother, your characterization brought to mind 2 Timothy 4: 7-8 as verses which describe her. You were blessed to have such a parent as her!
As you and your family grieve her death, may God grant PEACE knowing that death transports your loved one into her Heavenly Home!
Don, thank you very much for your kind words of care and support.