Morbid Curiosity (and Speaking of Eternity)

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered-how fleeting my life is.” 

– Psalm 39:4 

Morbid curiosity: who is going to bury you? Who is going to care for your body, tell your story, and rise up to call you blessed? Who is going to offer the eulogy and who is going to declare your faith in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ?  

Weddings are optional but funerals, funerals are mandatory. A mandatory once in a lifetime opportunity to go and gather and declare together what we believe about the power of God over life and death.  

The most honest-to-God thing you can ever do is stand in faith at the grave.  

So, who is going to bury you?  

How much planning have you done for the inevitable reality of your own death? Have you talked about those plans with the people you expect to carry them out? You have a financial planner and you used a wedding planner, you keep a day planner, what or who is your death planner? Maybe we need a better name for it, but you understand what I mean. Who is going to rise up to call you blessed (offer eulogy, good words) and who is going to rise up and declare the resurrection power of Jesus in whom you live again (offer euangelion, the Good News)? 

I got a letter from someone who heard me share on air that I was traveling to officiate at the funeral of a dear sister in Christ, my friend, Trisha. Her husband, Dr. J. Howard Edington, could have asked anyone to do it. He has served as the senior pastor of some of the largest churches in the nation. He has preached in dozens of countries around the world. There’s a website that not only archives but continues to distribute his sermons every day. It’s called  Howard has shepherded the hearts of countless saints through the valley of the shadow of death. He has presided over and subsequently reflected in sermons on the deaths of dignitaries, friends, colleagues, his own mother and tragically, his own son. But this time was different. 

This time, it was her.  

Who would walk with him through the valley of the shadow of death this time? 

For 62 years they have been inseparable. What God knit together in the marriage of Howard and Trisha Edington was a beautiful force of faith and joy. It is difficult for me to think of one of them without the other. Imagine how difficult it is for him to have walked with her for so long and to now walk in this world alone until they meet again at the Father’s house? She will not come back to him but he will go her some day. But not today. Today he walks in the valley of the shadow. It is a place he knows well and has walked often. But this time is different. This time it’s her. 

He could have asked anyone but he asked me.  

So, to the listener who asked…

Why did I go to walk solemnly by faith with my brother and friend through the valley of the shadow of death? Because he asked me.  

What did I say?  

I echoed the readings and the prayers and the songs that we all repeat and remind ourselves at the end of a life,

I repeated the words of faith,  

I led the prayers of the faithful and acknowledged the fears of those who have no faith,  

I stood and celebrated the life of a Proverbs 31 woman who put her full faith and confidence in Jesus Christ.  

Was it right or wrong for me to do so? God is the judge of the rightness or righteousness of every time and place and circumstance where we open our mouths to declare His praise. But this I know, if God can use a book or a song, if God can use a rock or a tree, a cross or an empty tomb, if God can use a woman at a well or a thief on a cross to declare the Gospel, in the face of death, at the edge of the gaping grave, God can, I trust, use me.  

And, my friend, God can use you.  


If you’ll let Him. 

Psalm 39:4: “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered-how fleeting my life is.” 

Indeed, death comes. Who then will bury you and what will be said of the only One who has conquered it? Who will speak the name of Jesus to those who walk on that day through the valley of the shadow of death – because on that day it will be different – it will be you.  

As my friend and mentor, my brother in Christ, Howard Edington would here say, “Give me Jesus, you can have all the rest. Just give me Jesus.”