We were on our way to South Carolina to get a special certification for a certain marriage counseling program when Caleb got the news.
“Sir, I’m calling to report the death of a retired Soldier. You are the staff Chaplain on duty for Monday so we will need you to conduct his service.”
At this point, the on call Officer knew just as much information as we did and his news was hardly how we predicted starting our four day weekend. Though it didn’t interfere with what we were scheduled to learn, when Monday rolled around, our spirits were a bit downcast. Studying for 8 hours on how to give life to relationships hardly prepped us on the mood needed surrounding one’s end.
Though curious, Monday was not a day for further questioning. I stood quietly behind my husband who was faithful to collect as many details about this stranger’s life as he could and waited as patiently as possible while another Veteran’s funeral was being conducted. The below freezing temperature on top of the mountain at Georgia National Cemetery only made matters worse once we found out that no family or friends were present to observe the man’s death.
Full of sorrow, I was relieved when others showed up for the service Caleb had prepared. The Soldier’s Sailor son was also honoring his father by playing Taps on his very own trumpet.
Though people, the song, and gunfire demanded respect, nothing compared to the comfort I received when all things were pointed back to the cross that saves us. Caleb’s message of the hope that can be found in Christ, dissolved my anxiety over losing battles in this life. Though I can’t be positive of another’s salvation, assurance is mine if I’ve turned, repented, and believe.
I do agree that one can never hear the gospel message enough. The fact that death can lose its power over us is an astonishing truth; even more so, is the peace that is granted surrounding such a delicate situation once one’s will is surrendered for the Lord’s. Praise be to God for His holy and perfect, free gift. Without it, we are lost!
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15: 54-58 (ESV)