Holding off Death

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We all do it: save that last bit of string in case we need it in the future; buy a new gadget and keep the old one for emergencies; store up extra provisions “in case,” and cram our cupboards, houses, and garages full of things that we may never use. We’re not good at letting go.

This “hanging on” tendency applies to life. We hang on to this life fiercely and protectively even though the Bible tells us that we are pilgrims passing through and this earth is not our home. “While we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6

I love praying for other people, but I wish I had the courage to be truthful. When I get prayer requests like: “Pray for healing for my mother who is 92 and has cancer, needs a heart transplant, and now her kidneys are failing;” “Pray for my son who has bone cancer. He’s already lost a lung and been through chemo twice. This time it’s not working and he’s in a coma”—I wish I could be honest. I wish I could explain that true healing will never be possible on this earth. We don’t belong here. It’s not our home. We’re merely passing through. “We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13. We are all in the process of dying.

We don’t belong here. We need to be willing to let go. Heaven is our final destination and home, a place too wonderful and marvelous for human description. “And God will wipe away every tear; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain.” Revelation 21:4. “They shall neither hunger anymore; the sun shall not strike them…for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

We don’t belong here. We need to be willing to let go. But I’m a coward. So the next time I get a message: “Pray for my sister who has had a liver transplant and now both her kidneys are failing from radiation therapy,” I will pray.

I will pray because God is a God of miracles. He holds our lives in His hands and He knows the number of days it will take us to pass through this land on the way home. I don’t know…so I must pray.

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Dare to be a…Dandelion?

William Wordsworth wrote:

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils…

Why daffodils? Why not dandelions? They are both yellow. They are both cheerful. They both start with the letter D. So what’s wrong with dandelions…except, of course, that in this case – it wouldn’t rhyme.

Even though dandelions have medicinal uses and are harvested for food, they are listed as a noxious weed in many jurisdictions. My neighbors hate them and cast disparaging looks at our yard when the cheerful yellow blooms pop up and wave at them in a friendly manner.

Multiple internet sites offer advice on how to kill or get rid of dandelions. They are considered a nuisance in residential and recreational lawns and in agriculture. They get blamed for economic damage because they infest crops worldwide.

Pilgrims brought dandelions to New England from Europe in the 1600s, and planted them for health benefits which included curing scurvy, a condition caused by a lack of vitamin C. Because dandelions are hardy, they survived. Because they are aggressive, spread easily, grow anywhere, and are highly visible – the once revered flowers are now hated.

Children love dandelions. What magical fun to blow on a dandelion and watch white fluff somersault through the air on wind currents – tiny circus performers catching a moment of freedom and life in celebration. I still love blowing on dandelions. (I don’t do it when the neighbors are watching!)

Fortrose, Scotland, threw off winter gloom and followed a bright parade of golden daffodils this spring. Except the ones captured by cameras and memories, they are gone now. Now, the land has rolled out folds of green and gold tartan as dandelions march staunchly into the battle for continued survival.

Christians need to be like dandelions – not daffodils. We should be aggressive on the side of right. We should spread the Good News about Jesus’ love and eternal life everywhere we go. We should bloom where God plants us. We should be hardy, even when we are met by ridicule. We should catch the breath of the Holy Spirit and celebrate Jesus as freely and joyfully as dandelion fluff in a whirlwind.

Instead of daring to be a Daniel, like the children’s Bible song, we should dare to be a dandelion.

I think I just encouraged myself to go out and blow on some dandelions in front of my neighbors. I may or may not be back…