Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Precious Grain of Wheat Has Fallen...but Will Rise



God has designed us for eternity and not for temporality. We are made to live forever. But for us to inhabit and enjoy the eternal, certain things must change in the temporal. In order for mortal humanity to “put on immortality” (1Cor15:54), humans must die. Here’s Jesus take on it, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24). But this eternal change requires much grief and deep pain, especially when the timing isn’t how we’ve planned it. This week I was with my friends Greg and Cathe Laurie who buried their son, “Topher” on Thursday. He was only 33 when his mortal body put on immortality. His sweet young wife Brittany, still numb with grief, is wondering how she’ll convey daddy’s absence to little Stella, who just turned two. Jonathan, Topher’s younger brother, is my son Nate’s age. I especially resonate with him since, when my older brother died in a motorcycle accident, I was also 22 years old. All of this profound heartache and hurt was generated when Topher arrived in heaven last Thursday morning. That instant in time changed everything for the rest of time for this family. For Christopher (Topher is what we called him), everything is fine, He’s in heaven, enjoying his eternal inheritance. He trusted in Christ and His finished work on the cross. I saw firsthand how his spiritual life grew solid when he met Brittany and how their love for each other paralleled their growing love for Jesus.

So on the eternal side of the coin everything is great, but let’s not forget the temporal side. Though we can rejoice for one who’s gone to heaven, we can’t stop with that. There are still those not yet in heaven that desperately miss a husband, daddy, son and brother. There is still pain on this side of heaven’s celestial gleam. There are deep scars in the lives of this family crushed by the reality of Christopher’s exit. And as Christians, we must not disregard their sorrow nor minimize it by a tacit acknowledgment of heaven’s gain. Death is the time for the Body of Christ to stay engaged. How? I’ve been thinking of a few suggestions: First, visit the Harvest web site (http://www.harvest.org/). Look over and appreciate some of the many artistic layouts and designs (on the web and in print) for Harvest ministries that Topher himself designed. Like his dad and like his Father in heaven, Topher was a creator, using his talent to beautify and present life magnificently. From bumper stickers that reminded drivers of the upcoming Harvest Crusades to the edgy layout of the church web pages, Christopher Laurie’s creative energy permeates it all. Second, you could go to the blog provided there and write a note of love and encouragement to the family. Believe me, in the long days ahead, this family will drink in the comfort from these heartfelt, prayer-filled comments. Solomon said, “Words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in settings of silver”(Prov. 25:11). Let God use you to minister to them by prayer and encouragement. Third, a fund has been set up to help sustain Christopher’s family. He left a young wife and two baby girls (Brittany will deliver her second child in November). Such financial support will be received as a tangible token of love from the Body of Christ to these three lovely girls. And trust me, in the months and years ahead, they will need it. Fourth, if you’re in the Southern California area, plan to attend the upcoming Harvest Crusade at Anaheim Stadium on August 15-17. Bring unsaved friends and family to this event. Really get behind it this year. After all, this is the very event that Christopher Laurie was designing the art for. Nothing would make him more “stoked” than to see the fruit of his labor in souls saved. He, along with all in the Laurie family, would love to have many more prepare to go to the very heaven Topher is now enjoying. This truly would be “much grain” resulting from the “grain of wheat” falling into the ground. Finally, pray for Brittany, Stella, Jonathan, Greg and Cathe by name. Pray for God’s sustaining grace to carry them through the days and nights that lay ahead. Even place a reminder to keep them in prayer through the months ahead. As a friend of this precious family, thank you for your love and concern.

When death comes to a believer and another “seed” is sown into the ground to await the resurrection, we as Christians then must have two responses: the first is to be rejoicing for the one who has put on immortality, but the second is to be responsible to those who remain presently bound by the realities of mortal life.

6 comments:

From the View of 1336 said...

Good Evening Skip,

While I was able to visit my parents in ABQ, I was at Calvary when you asked for prayer for the Laurie family. My heart aches for the family and I will pray for strength for them. I was able to watch the memorial service via web, and I am thankful that the Gospel was preached. So beautiful!
Joy~
Talitha

Jim said...

Skip,

Your words are well spoken and echo the encouragement to the church that Pastor Jon Courson spoke today from Greg's podium. It is a blessing to see all of those who Pastor Greg has ministered beside and to through the years, stand with the Laurie family in their time of grief. I am waiting to see what work God will wrought through this sudden trial.

Jim
<><

Melissa said...

Skip,

We can hardly read your words without fighting back tears. Your sensitive and insightful comments are so reassuring to us and to all. We believe that the Lord will reveal his reasons for permitting the car accident that took Christopher's life ... very soon ... We continue to pray for the Laurie family daily.
Blessings,
Rosemary & Melissa
(Mother & Daughter from Ocean Hills Church )

Priscilla said...

Your words ring so true, especially for me. I feel as if I have just been wandering in circles for some time and have not given myself completely to be molded and shaped. Since Christopher's passing I have really made the commitment to live for Christ each day. I cant soak up enough of the word and worship and being fellowship with other believers. My husband and I have begun doing devotions each night and we have signed up for a young married couples study. I have been in constant prayer for Lauries and especially for Brittany. I am a yound mom of 1yr old and 2 yr old girls. I cant imagine her pain and I pray for her and the rest of the family DAILY and will continue to do so for a long time! Seeing Cathe and Greg at church the sunday right after the accident spoke volumes of their faith and trust in Jesus. I want a faith like that. The Lord has renewed a fire in my heart and also in my husband's heart. I have been so blessed by your words and also the words of Jon Courson and Don McClure throughour the last week or so. I just finished reading the book the Harvest by Chuck Smith which touched a little bit on each of your testimonies. It was amazing. I will be at the Crusades and will hopefully be bringing many with me! Thank you again for your words of encouragement!

God Bless you!

Melanie said...

I love this. It's so difficult to know what to say to those that are left behind when a loved one leaves this earth, even if they are believers. I want to say things that are comforting, but I don't want to diminish their pain in any way. My tendency is to say very little. I have left a few virtual hugs for the Laurie family, and just pray that they are somehow comforted in this difficult time.

ann said...

I will continually pray for the Laurie family. I think about them often. I too am griefing with them.