Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Other Side of the Casket

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

June 2019This verse came to mind almost seven years ago as I sat in the front row at my father’s burial.  For 36 years I had been on the other side of the coffin – trying to give words of encouragement and lifting prayers on behalf of the grieving family. Other than my two grandmothers (both grandfathers died before I was born or when I was an infant) I have not lost anyone close – other than some childhood friends. With my maternal grandmother died I was in the family section – not upfront. I did celebrate my paternal grandmother’s life as her pastor. I have not had a close family member pass since – until my father died. We had both sets of parents – still married to each other and living strong!

I am a pretty emotional person – and I think I held up pretty well through the visitation time and at the funeral (almost broke down once during the sermon and as the coffin was being closed the previous night). There I was – placing the cocoon that held my father into the ground and yet I was an emotional wreck.  I knew it wasn’t my father. I knew he was with Jesus. I knew the story of the butterfly I have told hundreds of times and even shared it at my father’s graveside service – but the emotions of the moment hit me hard.

I now know what it means to have a parent pass – and I know what it means to have a parent healthy and strong.  It still hits me – nearly seen years after his death. I know it will hit me for years yet – and maybe for the rest of my life. I hope it makes me more compassionate with others – with my family – with the people I am blessed to serve.

I often tell people that when a parent dies – it will impact us in ways we will need to wrestle with for some time. The natural barrier for death has been removed – we become the next generation and – all things being equal – we will be the next to die and meet our maker!

As much joy as this hope and assurance brings – it is also scary – because we have not been there yet and the unknown is hard to deal with for most of us. Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I pray my faith is stronger than my emotions. I pray that my faith will see me through the fears and uncertainties that I will face as the days – weeks – months and years unfold.

Pray for me please – as I pray for you and minister to those who have lost loved ones with a new view of that side of the coffin!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

July 16, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Worship | , , , , , , , , , ,

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