There is an older couple sitting in front of me. Hair is gray. I see a cane. The hymn begins…Jesus Paid It All. She struggles to her feet and stands, hands extended out, eyes shut, legs a bit wobbly. I don’t know why, but I love her heart. The chorus we sang to start the service was perhaps unfamiliar, but this hymn? This hymn she knows. She’s probably been singing it her entire life, and so she stands.
“Oh praise the one who paid my debt who raised this life up from the dead.”
I’ve been thinking about death. Dying. Dying well. My husband told me the other day about a concept he learned about in his tactical training to “die well”. With honor. With integrity. With your character intact. He related it at the time to the ending of a life event, perhaps not literal death. Losing your job? Die well. End of your marriage? Die well. Having to let go of a dream you’ve held on to for months? Die well.
There is always a choice to be made. Our responses to these figurative deaths is always up to us. We can choose to be bitter and crumble under the weight of our circumstances and the people who have hurt us, or we can choose to die well and let the pain transform us into someone better.
The pastor finishes his children’s sermon with one phrase and I am slayed…
“Jesus is worth following.”
You know who died well? Jesus. Jesus hung on the cross and the last thought He ever had was His deep unending love for me. There was no whining. No dramatic exit. No harsh words exchanged. No retaliation.
I sit pondering this. Thinking about who I want to be. Who I want my children to see when they see me. If I am showing them a Jesus that is worth following. If I am learning how to die well. If the hurt and the realities of being human are leaving me bleeding and bitter. Did I point to Him on the mountain tops? Did my fiery furnaces leave me burnt up and smelling like smoke? Did I choose to love? Will they know Him because they know me?
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
For today, one simple truth will suffice…
Jesus is worth following.