Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Live Like You Were Dying

It's amazing how quickly death can come. Yesterday as I was checking my Master's email account, I found out that Bethany Rerher died last weekend in an automotive accident. Any of you who remember Majesty might remember Bethany, but I remember her for more than that. During my first visit to Master's, she sang during chapel and then borrowed a vacuum cleaner from my roommates later that day. I talked to her for a little while about her and my future plans, and she promised to look me up when I came to Master's. Then she came to little old B'ham with Majesty last summer and we renewed our acquaintance. (She is briefly on the DVD, if you can't quite remember who she is.) Finally, the last time I visited, we ran into her at dinner one night and then at chapel the next morning, with her now-boyfriend, Bjorn (also from Majesty).

She had beautiful plans and dreams for her future, and her greatest desire was to glorify God. In her biography on the Majesty website, it says, "Bethany's prayer is that each experience this year would refine her to be more like Christ."

But now, suddenly, she is dead, along with her sister who was planning on coming to Master's this fall, and both her parents. In our finite view of things, it seems to make no sense. But as the pastor at a memorial service held in Spain said:

The deaths of Bethany and her family cause us to remember that we should be prepared to go into the presence of the Lord at any moment. Bethany has presented herself before the Lord having dedicated her last months of her life to glorify the name of God with the gifts God had given her, using them in His service. The Lord decided to call Bethany into His presence knowing that His daughter had plans for her future that included a life dedicated to serving Him in India, Bangladesh or wherever He would lead, renouncing many things to serve Him. If He called us could we say the same? Or would we be found living for ourselves and making our own plans? I do not doubt that one day, when we see things from God’s perspective, we will better understand his design.
In the meantime, we must know that Bethany’s death was not a fortuitous event, but it was by the will of God, according to His inscrutable ways and for His glory and the glory of His Son Jesus Christ. Bethany, Bill, Pam and Amy are now with the Lord, with joy unspeakable that we can barely imagine. They are contemplating Him who does all things for the good of those who love Him, and all this has been possible because of another death, the death of God Himself – God made flesh who came to pay with His own life our sin. He came to give salvation free and to give a sense of life and death to all those who repent of their sin and put their faith in Christ Jesus, who paid the punishment we deserved.

God has purposes in everything, and His ways are beyond finding out. Even in this tragedy, His good plans are being worked out in those still remaining. Pray for their brother and son, Matt, along with his wife Kara, and for Bjorn. I can't even comprehend losing someone so close to me, but I know that even in trials such as this, His grace IS sufficient. I pray that those who loved this family will know that every moment.

It's sobering to think how quickly that it happened. It could happen at any moment, anywhere, to anyone. If I was taken so quickly, what would the response be? Would people have the same faith that it had been a life well lived although short? What about if others were to die? Would I have assurance of their saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? It's good for me to ponder these questions, to stop and evaluate what's really important. Are you living like you're dying?


Kristi said...

I remember Bethany VERY well...wow...this has hit me hard, as I'm sure it has hit you very hard as well...I will definitly be praying for her loved ones.

Caleb said...

My heart feels pierced and my spirit broken...

Bethany and her family are with the Lord but, oh, the people left behind.

I'm breaking right now...but how much more for those close to her?

What of her relatives? What of her friends? What of Bjorn?

‘Oh, God, extend your peace to those close to Bethany and her family. And give us the strength to say, “It is well with my soul,” and, “Your will be done, Lord.” You work all things together for good for those that love you. We don’t know how you are using this, Lord, but we do know your ways are perfect.’

Please, everyone, be in prayer over this. Lets ponder the challenges Jill has extended to us, and examine our lives...

Abbie said...

Wow. I just can't believe it. Thank you so much for letting us know, Jill. I will definately be in prayer!

purplecak said...

Thanks for sharing this Jill...Oh, there is so much we take for granted! Let's not waste our time that we are given. Praying along with the rest- Love- Carol