A bit over a week ago, our precious companion of over a decade died, leaving behind a family with hearts broken from the excruciating pain of loss. (I posted a tribute to him HERE.)
It's one thing to talk of death and dying, and quite another thing to see it up close, to see breath and life (even life that is in the midst of uncontrollable seizures) one moment and then to see stillness and death the next. Death is ugly. Death is hideous. Death is sinister. There are no redeeming qualities in death. Yet, death is a fact of life, the ultimate end of all living things.
Why? Why did my furry friend have to die? He never commited a single sin; there was nothing in him that warranted the sentence of death. At least with humans, we know they themselves sinned, and thus brought upon themselves the penalty of death. Not so with animals!
The answer is both simple and frightening: He died because I sin.
It is my sin, and the sin of all humans that causes the entire world to be under the curse of death, groaning for the day of redemption (Romans 8). In effect, I killed that beautiful creature because I sin. He didn't deserve death, yet death sought him out because of me.
What does that mean? It means I must quit shrugging off my sin as something minor. It's not minor. Every sinful action, inaction, or thought is an affront to a holy God and results in death. Sin is NOT minor; it is like death: ugly, hideous, and sinister. My outlook to my sin needs to change such that I see it for the horridly awful thing it is. Some of the saints of the past (Owen, I think) referred to the need to "mortify" your sin. In other words, as Christians, we are to see the sin for the ugly thing it is and kill it!
How does one do that? First and foremost is to be in the Word, for without that, you don't even know what your sin is! The Word will slice and dice your heart to the point of showing every little speck of ugliness. Take each speck and kill it with prayer, repentance, and the help of the Holy Spirit. In repentance, don't walk, but run, to the foot of the Cross where you can find forgiveness. With that forgiveness comes new life as we become more and more like Jesus, our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. With that new life comes the hope of heaven where we know the ugliness of sin and death is defeated and banished for all of eternity. No more will we hurt from the pain of loss. No more will we fall into sin and ugliness. No more will we fail our Father. No more will any of our beloved die. And no more will we be separated from the glory and joy that is our God in Jesus Christ!
Maranatha! Come soon, Lord!