Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. (Isaiah 57:2)
(Photo by anglia24)
If I die tonight, what will God say of my life? How have I lived it?
These words echoed in my mind long after Pastor Manny ended tonight's service at the wake of the dad of two dearest sisters in Christ, Marie and Mariya.
If I may say so, this is a year of grieving for our cell group. One after the other, four of us in the cell lost our parents. Early this year, Kata lost her dad -- albeit in a very fashionable way -- "dropped dead" in the middle of a golf course. ("He really knows how to go in style," Kata tells us.)
Last month, I lost my father while I was in China. Days later, as my family and I were mourning in Negros, Mariya and Marie's mom passed away. And just the other day, their dad followed.
What a year for our small group of "feisty" women. We love to call ourselves "comrades in the Lord" because we were once together in a different cause, but thankfully, have been "arrested by Lord."
Just tonight, our cell group met in a not-so-pleasant-setting -- at the wake of the Jopson patriarch.
Before Pastor Manny shared the Word, the Jopsons flashed the life of their father -- a strong-willed provinciano, who thru sheer hard work and determination, became a successful entrepreneur. His was a life straight from the soap opera. From being a death march survivor to a respected businessman to raising 12 patriotic children including the great youth leader Edjop, Daddy Hernan definitely lived a full life.
I was blessed to have met him and his wife and got to chat with them on the few occassions I visited their Paraiso home. He would marvel me with the tales of old, his family and his passion for farming. He would share how Edjop, as a young boy, convinced him to purchase their Mamburao property which is now like the family's second "paradise."
But what struck me the most was how he evidently loved his wife and children so much. He was a father every family must have -- a strong pillar that holds the family together.
I remember my own father -- a man for others who sacrificed personal conveniences for the sake of the people. To the very end, he thought of others before his own, putting aside his health if only to bring order to what he expected to be a chaotic elections.
Kata's dad, though I haven't met them, surely raised his own children well. Even if she's not my friend, knowing Kata as a public figure, I surmise he did a great job.
Kata's parents, the Jopson's parents, my father -- they all lived lives that impacted others.
Which brings back to Pastor Manny's question: What is my life before God's eyes? How have I lived it?
Not much, I should say. Surely, I can do better. And deaths of people close to us always remind us of the inevitable -- the only sure destination for each one of us.
Death shouldn't bring fear. But rather, determination -- to do better each day and live it as if it were our last. And when we face our Creator, we can give a better accounting of how we steward what He has placed in our hands.