It's spring. I noticed yesterday that the Bradford Pear trees are in bloom and the flower beds in full flower.
Immediately, I thought of Lynn.
Lynn Borland died two weeks ago. He was one of my early mentors.
I met Lynn and his wife, Sandy, as we prepared for a mission trip to Wales. He was an executive for an airplane parts manufacturer. She is a counselor.
He pointed to a part, long since forgotten by me, inside of the engine on the plane taking us to London and said with pride, “My company makes that.”
I hadn't seen Lynn in a couple of years. But I'd spoken of Lynn often. Lynn pictured who I wanted to be when I'm 50. In Lynn I saw a coherent life. Most goofy teenagers don't find the chairmen of deacons a servant and a friend and a hero.
I heard that Lynn had died on my way home to surprise my family for the weekend. Back home, I looked through the photo albums, looking for a picture—the only one I have of Lynn and I. It was close-up, I'd stuck the camera in front of us and snapped with my arm around his neck.
I'm tempted to think of Lynn's death as another part of life. That's my coping mechanism. Whenever someone dies, I want life and death to be like the seasons—a cycle—so it doesn't hurt so bad.
But death isn't a part of life. It's not a next step or a new chance. Death is a consequence, an end to chances.
It's a consequence of original sin, a physical manifestation of the carnage sin wreaks. “So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned,” Romans 5:12.
It's an end to chances. “And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.
I don't grieve well, can't accept death as a season in the cycle of life, but don't grieve like those without hope.
Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep[a metaphor for death], so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
The heart of the Bible is not an explanation of where evil came from, but a demonstration of how God enters into it and turns it for the very opposite--everlasting righteousness and joy.