Thoughts on the passing of Emma Nichols
I find myself slowly emerging from the week that I spent in another dimension. Time stood still and flew by all at the same time. Things that seemed so important were dropped and barely given little more than a passing thought all week long. My days were filled with people I hardly know, coming and going, calling and crying. Doctors, nurses, funeral home directors, family and friends, wandered in and out of the hallways in a surreal mixture of crying and laughter.
So it was, the week my Grandma died.
My mom’s mom, at the age of 90, left behind her husband of 69 years, three kids, four grandkids, four great-grandkids and countless nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
I hope you will indulge me as I take this week and reflect a bit about the experience. I have thoughts about my family, my grandma, the church, Jesus and the gospel and the hope that awaits that I’d like to share so this week will be dubbed “The Week that Was.”
Death always forces people to wrestle with the uncomfortable parts of life. Given my tendency to live life in the purely intellectual exercises surrounding my faith (which is not always good) one of the things that I had to wrestle with over the course of the week was the following verse:
Precious in the sight of the lord is the death of his faithful servants.
-Psalm 116:15 NIV
I was asked to include this verse in my meditation for the funeral service. I was so taken aback by the verse that I was certain it wasn’t in the Bible when it was given to me. Does God really see the death of his servants as precious? What does the word precious mean here? Is it good? Isn’t death the enemy that Jesus came to defeat? There might be no bigger “Blue Parakeet” for me than this verse. It doesn’t seem to fit in the context of the Psalm, and it seems to fit even less in the theological context of scripture.
Regardless, I found a way to include it in my part of the service, and I think it’s used properly, but I’d love people’s thoughts on this verse.
I wonder, how do you make sense of this verse? How would you include it in the memory of a loved one? What’s your initial reaction to reading it? Does it bring you hope? Sorrow? Confusion?