I recently attended a memorial service for a young mother. During the service I recalled a verse from the Psalms:
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.” Psalm 116:15 (NIV)
“Precious” seems like a good thing, in fact, a very good thing. This death didn’t feel very precious to me. A long painful battle with cancer, children growing up without their mother, a grieving husband coping with an inconsolable loss, and other things crossed my mind. “Precious” didn’t seem like the right description.
I quickly realized I was viewing this from the wrong perspective. The verse says it’s precious in God’s sight not mine.
As I was pondering this I thought about the beautiful cross-stiches my daughter creates. She spends hours making tiny stitches on a blank piece of material. Each stitch contributes little to the design but as hundreds and thousands of stitches are added, the pattern emerges until finally the result is a beautiful piece of art.
Perhaps our lives are a bit like that. Each experience, each trial, each encounter may be inconsequential but together they form the character that, for the Lord’s faithful servants, results in the masterpiece He has been creating all along. That is the person that enters eternity and that is what is precious to the Lord.
The reverse side of the finished cross-stitch isn’t pretty. It is just a bunch of knots and pieces of thread. No one would be impressed by its beauty, no one would hang that on the wall, even a grandmother wouldn’t put that on a refrigerator door! That’s what death looks like from our perspective. All we see is the back of the cloth, the knots, the loose threads, the pain, the suffering, the emptiness, the loss.
I thank the Lord for reminding us of the beauty on the other side and the view from eternity is much more important than what we see from this side.