FOR THURSDAY *TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.” (Psalm 116:15; New Revised Standard Version)
Earlier in this psalm, the author speaks of being surrounded in the pains of death (Psalm 116:3). Last night, I learned that a dear friend of mine from college days faced the passing of her precious mother from this life into the Church Triumphant. Last week, we grieved the death of the father of one of my church members who was beloved by many in our community as a friend. The week before that, I held the service of celebration for a long-time friend and colleague who had died just a few months after he retired from the ministry. We know all about the pains of death surrounding us, don’t we?
How then can the psalm say that the death of the Lord’s faithful ones is “precious” in his sight? After hearing this verse recited for years, I’ve wondered for much of my life its meaning. The Pulpit Commentary offers one explanation as it says that the death of a faithful one is “precious” because such a loss matters to God – it is “not a matter of indifference to God”. Never to be taken lightly, death “is a matter of deep concern” to God. So when God has promised to never forsake us, we should never think that death is an exception. Even as we walk through this dark valley, God will be here with us holding our hand all the way.
Not only will God be with us the grieving, God is still blessing those who are crossing the threshold from this temporal life to the one of eternity. “Here we spend our years with sighing” says Thomas Watson. This life on earth is “a valley of tears; but death is the funeral of all our sorrows.”
PRAYER: To be honest, Precious Lord, my experiences of death and grieving continue to be a mystery to me. When I can’t find the answers I seek, help me to live faithfully even within such mysteries. Amen.
*The Scripture Reading for each day is selected from the Revised Common Daily Lectionary used in A Disciple’s Journal – 2015 by Steven W. Manskar]