On February 17 of this year, I read chapters 18 and 19 in the Book of Job without realizing the significance of the day and the passages. An email from my brother reminded me it was the 25th anniversary of our mother’s death.
Margaret Ruth McCormick Macy died at the youthful age of 66. I was 33, half her age, and totally unprepared.
I thought I understood death. After all, I had been a pastor for eight years and had conducted forty or fifty funerals. I believed the Gospel; that absent from the body she was present with the Lord. But I didn’t have a clue about the impact her death would have on me. I had been in denial about the cancer. I knew she would die, but not today, not now.I have more things to ask her and say to her. I need to tell her how much I love her. But it was too late, at least, for now.
Exactly 18 years later on February 17, 2002, my father, Alton Ralph Macy, joined mom with Jesus. I grieved Dad’s death at the age of 83, but while the loss was real, it didn’t have the same regrets. The wakeup call of Mom’s death helped me enjoy my father for the next 18 years and the chance to express my thanks for God’s grace of godly parents.
What does Job 19 have to do with this? A couple of years before he died, Dad asked me to preach his funeral. I told him I doubted I would have the emotional ability to do it, but when he died, I just had to. My text was from Job 19, the text for one of Dad’s favorite arias from Handel’s Messiah.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27 NIV)
Even now, my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out my tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for His friend.”(Job 16:19-21 NIV)
I don’t know how much of the Gospel Job understood (and I know these texts aren’t the easiest to exegete), but he seems to have understood the concept of the bodily resurrection.
I share that same hope, that in my flesh I shall see God and Mom and Dad and all who know Jesus!