Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

11 October 2012

Gone to his (or her) reward

"She's gone to her reward."

It's a phrase I hear my mum use quite frequently.  It's a euphemism she uses when someone has died. I've never really paused to considered what those words actually mean.  But yesterday (many thanks to Susie at 7mouths2feed for the link) I watched a short video about Shannon McFarlane Sproul - daughter of RC Sproul Jnr and granddaughter of RC Sproul - born with a profound disability and who passed away last week aged 15.

About three and half minutes into the 12 minute video (made prior to her death - I couldn't find the year it was made), Shannon's dad, through tears says, "The hardship for me is everyday knowing that it is extremely likely that Shannon will go on to her reward before we will."  This is a source of real and deep human grief for this father.  But in saying that she will go to her reward, he is not being euphemistic.  Through the tears of his grief there is immense hope in his eyes.  His daughter will (and last week did) go to her reward.  She is free with her Father in heaven for all eternity.  Free of her disability and free in His loving presence for ever.  

Going to one's reward - it is the point, our goal, our hope and also our deep comfort when those we love go to their reward.  It's a powerful and beautiful phrase.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write:
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labour,
for their deeds will follow them.”
Revelation 14:13

If you can spare the twelve minutes it will take, it will be time well spent to watch this very moving video clip.  It is such a privilege to see a family living out in complete their faith and trust in a God who is sovereign over all of the details of their lives, even the difficult details.

RC Sproul starts by saying, "I like to explain it [specifically his response to the birth and life of his disabled granddaughter but generally in terms of how we ought to respond when trials and suffering come] like this.  That anything that happens in this world God knows.  And He knows before it happens.  And he has the power to stop it.  In so far as He has made that decision to let it happen, He has ordained it to be so."

Then his son, Shannon's father, says, "Now God says, 'Here's this challenge.  Do you really believe that this is from my hand?' "

This is trusting in God's sovereignty in action.  I have always always had an abiding trust in God's sovereignty but I haven't had my convictions tested to such a degree.  I am thankful for the opportunity to watch this video and see others live out this conviction and I am humbled by their example. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah Meredith, I thank God for your reflections. They are relentlessly encouraging, relentlessly challenging, and always make my day better.

Thank you,
Nick S.

Meredith said...

Thanks so much Nick. I can't take any credit for this post though - just a response to someone else's work. But I am so glad to have stumbled upon that post because it has shifted me out of a comfortable place and back into a better spot. Have a great day Nick.