Not long ago I learned that a close family member nearly died and had to undergo emergency brain surgery. It was a tremendous shock to me. I walked around on the verge of tears all that day. I was plagued with the thought, ‘Death is so permanent.’ The following day I was talking to a dear lady on the phone and learned that she lost a child six years ago. Her child was thirteen months old and had drowned in a swimming pool. After our conversation, God began dealing with me. He reminded me of something the Holy Spirit told me years ago, ‘Things aren’t always as they appear.’ He then told me to look up the child’s name in a book I have on children’s names and their meanings. The child’s name is Sarah Beth. Sarah Beth is derived from Hebrew and means ‘Princess in the house of God’. Things truly aren’t always as they appear. This little child’s life on earth was cut short in order that she might forever be a ‘princess in the house of God’ — God turned what appeared to be an unjust stroke of fate into an eternal crown of glory and placed it upon the head of this innocent little child. And this little child will proclaim throughout eternity the blessings of a most kind and gracious heavenly Father who causes all things to work together for good to His beloved children. He watches over all — cares for all — prayers are answered.
Death loses its permanency in God’s supreme gift to man — His only begotten Son — for whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but through Him the perishable will put on the imperishable, the mortal will put on the immortal. Death is swallowed up in the victory of the Son of God. The Lion from the tribe of Judah became an unblemished Lamb and triumphantly overcame death, rendering it powerless. And through Him we who believe will also overcome and will one day join Sarah Beth, the little Princess in the house of God, and in victorious celebration we will sing the praises of the Lord our God. With grateful hearts we will acknowledge His wisdom in His dealings with man and marvel at His understanding. At that time we will know as we have been known, fully and completely; and I am certain that we will bow in appreciation to His infinite lovingkindness.
Dear friends, the leaves of autumn fall only to reenter the earth from which they came, and, in turn, rise again in a form of nutrients, providing sustenance for the grass and the trees and the flowers they left behind. In so doing, they testify both to the resurrection from the dead, and to the ever present help of the Bread of Life which was broken for us. And not just the leaves of autumn, but all creation is continually reminding us that we may take heart and find comfort in the hope of our calling: The flowers open their petals to the sun; the birds can be heard in song; winter relinquishes its grip in deference to the birth of spring… all testifying that death is obliged to bow in submission to our Lord’s immutable promise of eternal life. This is the heritage of the children of God; — weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Now to Him who loves us, and is able to make us all kings and priests and princes and princesses in His eternal house in the heavens, be glory and majesty and dominion and authority, before time and now and forever.
Rev. Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
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