Last weekend I had the honor of attending the funeral of Judy Fisher, the mom of my elementary and high school friends, Wyatt and Eric.  Her death was so very unexpected–a tragic car accident days after celebrating their 50th anniversary and 4 days before the actual anniversary date.  Death.  So hard.  So unexpected.  So NOT the way it was supposed to be.

As I was driving to the funeral, it was pouring down rain–flash flood pouring.  It seemed like Jesus’ tears to me–weeping at death.  Lazarus’ death–Judy’s death.  It’s personal to Him.  I know that, and I believe this dear family does too.  It’s not His plan.

As we were heading to the gravesite, the sun started shining.  While driving, I noticed the incredible beauty of the trees with the sun on their leaves.  It’s fall.  The leaves are dying…going into hibernation, awaiting His breath that brings life to spring–kind of like Judy, although her spring was also immediate. Jesus.  Joy.  Laughter.  Perfection.  It’s us that await the breath of spring, not really her.

Even so, as I looked at the trees, I was thinking how like God it is to put beauty in dying.  Doesn’t seem like there is much about dying that’s good, and yet there’s beauty, which means He’s present in it, as there is no beauty apart from Him.  In nature, the beauty comes through changing leaves, fall colors and fading flowers, but with Judy’s death, it came through words of honor from her oldest son, the testimony of Christ in song and word in the service, a tribute by a dear family friend, the reflection of Christ’s resurrection’s power spoken by her younger son, and the grief of friends and family who deeply mourned and loved Judy, as she lived beautifully.

There was beauty there–in the midst of darkness and death.  “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art WITH me.”  There’s no beauty apart from Him.

Beauty in dying…how very like Him.