A dear sister in the Lord was dying. She and her husband not only had many grandchildren in Logos School, but she had been a significant contributor to our high school Protocol training. She was a lady of exceptional grace and graciousness. Our older students had recognized this immediately in her and always responded with respect to her instructions about which fork to use and how to seat a young lady. Her grandchildren continue to benefit from the godly raising of their own parents by their grandmother and grandfather.
Most of her life was spent in farming, a hard vocation which seemed at odds with her quiet refinement and taste for beauty. But she balanced all things well, through her desire to please her family and honor her Lord.
Now a cruel brain disease had slowly but surely removed her awareness and memories of much of her life. But her strong and otherwise healthy body was not letting her slip away quickly. Even with only water to sustain her, having lost her appetite for food, she lived on many days, then weeks, and even months.
Much more could and should be said about this woman’s life of walking with her Savior. When Julie and I and another couple visited her, she unknowingly spoke the Gospel to us. As she lay in her bed, a frail frame of what she had been, her face and voice were quiet and at peace. Even though she had lost virtually all sense of life and daily living and didn’t know us anymore, she remembered the precious Creeds we had sung in church. She sang the first verse of Amazing Grace with us and told me how much she loved Christmas. As her husband ministered small helps to her, she softly said ‘thank you’ each time.
We prayed with and for her before we left.
Someone said that one cannot die well if one has not lived well. That’s probably true enough in any situation, Christian or not. But very few people get to carefully plan their last words and actions. Unlike the movies, death doesn’t conveniently wait for the dying to say all the ‘right’ things to all the right people, before gently taking the soul. More often, from my limited experience, dying can strip away everything we value as a person: our strength, our self-sufficiency, our looks, our intelligence, our memories. It may leave only what God’s regeneration has put in, His Spirit still working. When all else is gone, the seal of God’s presence may be the only substance left of that dear person. But what a Seal!
In the letters to the churches, Christ said several times that he who endures to the end will be saved. In the broader context of Scripture, He certainly didn’t mean that we are to do our good works as long as possible in the hope that this will grant us salvation. I believe He meant that whenever “the end” comes for us, we should long to be, and by His grace, will be found in Him.
Raising children, educating them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord should not be about giving them a crack at the “good life,” the American dream: good job, good pay, nice home. Christian education is not even going to ensure our children become good Christians. Only the Master Teacher can do that. At best we in Logos are cutting with the “grain” of biblical instruction and encouragement, which is of great value. If learning the times tables is not meant to help young ones see and glorify Christ better, what is the point? If holding a classroom door for a young lady isn’t linked to loving your neighbor, as Christ commanded, what’s the point?
If we, as Christian parents, put too much or the wrong stock in Christian education, all the way from preschool through twelfth grade, in order to help our kids ‘turn out right’, we are likely in for a huge let-down. And that has happened; I know that a few of our over 400 alums are not walking joyfully with the Lord at this time. What should we make of that? Well, if Christian education is supposed to be any kind of savior for children, that ‘salvation’ is pathetically weak! On the other hand, if this education, and all of our parental training of our children is done in the real Savior, then even if there is a brief time when our children stumble, our confidence is in the right Person. If they, our children, are truly His, we can have the blessed assurance that they will finish well. If God is indeed at work in them, for His good will and purpose, ‘when they are old, they will not depart from it.’
Then, perhaps, when their time comes, they will sing on their death beds and reflect what was made precious to them all their lives, and thus into eternity.