I was reading the Amplified version of Psalm 116 this morning and verse 15 struck me, reverberating through my heart and mind. “Precious and of great consequence in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones… So he watches over them,” what can this mean, I wondered?
I looked up “precious” in the dictionary. Here’s what I found: –
“(of an object, substance, or resource) of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.
“precious works of art”
synonyms: valuable, costly, expensive; invaluable, priceless, beyond price.
greatly loved or treasured by someone.
“look after my daughter—she’s very precious to me”
synonyms: valued, cherished, treasured, prized, favorite, dear, dearest, beloved, darling, adored, loved, special
“her most precious possession”
Precious to God
If we are “precious” to God then we are of “great value,” “not to be “treated carelessly” or to be “wasted.” He “cherishes, treasures, and prizes us.” We are His “ favorites,” His “dearest, beloved, special” and His “adored.” How wonderful, to be valued, and loved. Yet in this verse, “precious” is connected to death and dying so it gave me pause.
Death – the enemy
For us, death is an enemy, the adversary.
It can be something else if I am lost in despair – it becomes strangely fascinating, hypnotic. Death – an escape hatch, a dark remedy.
But death is anathema to a life fully lived, a robber of potential. It is a detonation, a bomb that explodes and destroys youth and old age. It is painful, devastating – a separation, a ripping away.
And this verse says that the death of those whom God loves means something. It is of “great consequence” to God. If we are precious and of great consequence, then there is no “waste” in God’s economy. Each last breath breathed out is a complete life, no matter how short or how long.
How can this be?
I find this puzzling; how can there be a complete life when that life is only a few hours, days or years in its duration? How can this be true?
What about the lives that drag on – an interminable agony, or those who no longer experience conscious knowing, no sense, no cognition?
So much mystery, so much that is incomprehensible.
Can I find comfort in knowing that my death and the deaths of those that I love fulfills some unidentifiable paradox?
Is there solace in knowing that death is never, ever meaningless, that it is always closely attended to, that it is of great consequence to the Almighty, to the Sovereign, Inscrutable God?
And that this very God, who loves with infinite, complete and eternal care is the Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief. That He weeps with us and that He notices every tear, that He stores and collects our tears in a bottle.
I am not looking to put a band-aid on the great wound of death. Yes, we have hope if we believe in eternity. But death still stings and only the great Reunion on heaven’s shores can truly take that sting away.
Can I make sense of the senseless, order from chaotic and biting loss. Perhaps not, at least not in the here and now
Yet, I want clarity and peace; I want kind comfort. I hope these thoughts are like taking a sheet out of the dryer. It is wrinkled but warm, so I shake it, smooth it out, fold it a couple times and drape it over my shoulders. Wrapped in warmth, I feel comfort. But, I need more – so; I crawl into the arms of God my Father, let Him rock me in His arms.
He whispers to me, “I love you, you matter, you are precious in my sight, you have value. What you do and how you live can never be wasted. Every moment counts. Those whom you have loved and whom you love still, are with Me; together we exist in endless glory and their lives have infinite, never ending meaning. Those whom you love are precious to Me and of great consequence. Always and forever.”
So, as Jacob did, I wrestle, knowing that my struggles are safe with Him. That always He hears my cries, and that He is with me, will never leave or forsake me. I listen to the whispers of His Spirit. As much as I can – I lean into the mystery. I determine to trust Him. For; He has promised to guide and lead me on this journey however baffling it may be.