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.