Guest post by Julie:
I love the song, In Christ Alone. From the time I first heard it at the ACU lectures it has been one of my favourites and I can barely get through it without choking up. The last verse has special meaning for me
No guilt in life, no fear in death-
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from his hand;
Till he returns or calls me home-
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
Awesome!! It’s powerful. In my short career as a nurse I have had the honour of walking through labour with many couples. I’m often the first human touch that a new baby feels. I’ve certainly been present for a number of life’s first cries. It’s an awesome experience every time and to me it never loses it’s closeness to God. I’ve also had the privilege to be at the bedside of a few final breaths. That’s an awesome experience of a different sort. When my mom breathed her last she was surrounded by her family. We saw her out of this world knowing that the next face she would see would be the face of Jesus. Now that’s amazing. She and we will never experience the power of hell because Jesus holds us in His hands. The price was paid and the fear of death is erased.
I have heard first cries, I have heard final breaths, and I have seen the space in between. When I think about a human life I can easily picture it because I have the frame of reference of the birth experience on a regular basis and I can vividly recall the end of life moments. To sing that Jesus commands my destiny is so powerful to me that I can barely get the words out. To contemplate the power of Christ and the protection He gives – that nothing will ever pluck me from his hand – is an awe inspiring thought. Indeed, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
Lately as a church family we have been surrounded by life’s final breath. I think some have felt that grief is attempting to suffocate them at times. It is such a fragile time right now. You can see it in the face of a grieving wife and grieving parents. If you read Veronica’s blog or Facebook posts you can feel her pain jumping off the screen. I am frequently brought to tears while thinking of the long road of grief that the Kings and McBays are on. How blessed we’ve been by the lives of Rick and Jeremy. Each of them leaders in their church and each leaving a gaping hole. I know neither one of them wanted their life to be cut short like this but I also know that both of them had no fear in death. They worshipped a God who had them safely in his hand. A God who stands in victory and calls us all his own. There is no safer place to be.
We’ve also had the joy of a few babies born to us. Thank God for those precious first breath moments. Without them I think we would all just shrivel up. We had a beautiful baby dedication service not long ago with parents who want to surround their children with God’s love and raise them to know him better. However long or short their lives may be, we prayed as a church family that those lives would be lived for Jesus. These lives are brand new (and we’ve got a few more mamas just waiting to hear their own baby’s first cry) let them be lived in light of the Gospel. One thing I’m certain of in this very difficult time in our church life right now is that God has a plan for us to continue. A plan for us to draw closer to Him and each other as we share each others burdens, to worship Him, and to learn to give thanks while we suffer. A plan for us to understand down to the depths of our souls that God is God, and God is good in all seasons of life. A plan for us to fully understand ‘Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand’.