Sunday, December 12, 2010

I went to a memorial service for Rich Ferrell today. He was 52 years old when he died. I always knew him as Mr. Ferrell. As I get older, more and more adults I have known since when I was younger requests I call them by their first name, but I think Mr. Ferrell would have always been Mr. Ferrell to me. Not because he thought he deserved it, but because I know he deserved my respect. Mr. Ferrell was the type of person who made you feel special when you talked him, and welcome when you were in his home (and there was always a group of us from the youth group over at the Ferrell house.)

Over the years I have read various quotes or philosophic arguments about the length of one's life. Most are trite sayings such as, “It's not how long you live, but how you live that matters.” “The depth of life is more important than the length of life.” Or I guess God wanted them more.” Even St. Augustine was able to reason that man's life is exactly how long it was supposed to be, or something like that. Today, all those quotes are next to worthless.

There sure is a difference between knowing about loss in your head, and to experience it. Only a fool would show up to a memorial service and comfort the family by assuring them that St. Augustine's formula for the length of one's life was a compelling read. I don't think death is supposed to be easy. It is the most glaring evidence that sin exists, and that earth is not our final destination. Death is part of life and it sucks. But God is good, and we know that nothing escapes his overall will.

Take comfort, for life is possible because death has already taken place:

"’Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15)

It only takes one more death—from this earth—for us to be in the presence of our Savior's transcendent love!

Mr. Ferrell will be missed.