ONFS, 43cm x 34cm (17″ x 13.5″), Graphite
Death is a difficult subject to grapple with, but for the believer in Christ, it is filled with the joy and hope of resurrection and an eternity with Jesus. This quick sketch came out of my own experience in grappling with the death of my beloved grandmother who is now at home with Christ.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
[Jesus said,] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
I had a dream that my dear grandma, who is a believer in Christ, died. My family and I were crying. However, my grief was not very deep. I wept, but my heart was not utterly struck down. This was because I knew that our separation was only temporary and that death wasn’t the end for her. When I woke up from the dream, I tried to fight it, even though in my spirit, I pretty much knew it was a dream from God. I didn’t want to accept that my grandma was going to die.
A couple hours later when I phoned home, I found out that my healthy grandmother had just been diagnosed with cancer in its final stages. The dream, though troubling to me at first, had now become comforting.
For a believer in Jesus, death is not the “end”. Even though we are physicallly alive, we were once spiritually dead (because that’s the consequence for sinning–Romans 6:23). However, at the point when we personally trusted Jesus to pay the punishment for our sins through his death on the cross, he granted us eternal, spiritual life: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world…we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1-5). Therefore, for a believer, physical death is merely a stripping off of our “earth suit”, for we have already been made alive eternally. (See “Message“)
I know that when my grandma dies, our separation won’t be that much different than the separation we have right now (I am in Australia and she is in the United States). Currently, I only get to see her once every few years, but when she dies, I’ll just have to wait a little bit longer to see her again.
This drawing is loosely based on going through a friend’s passing. He was a young believer, and I was with him the several days leading up to his death from leukemia. Although I don’t experience this kind of thing often, whenever I went into his room I could sense that there were a few angels standing just to the side of the foot of his bed. Interestingly, in those final days he once asked me who the people were standing at the foot of his bed (he also asked a couple family members the same thing). I told him there was no one else in the room except me, but he kept protesting there were. I thought he was dreaming and didn’t understand what he was talking about. He finally gave up and said, “It’s too hard to explain”. Only after he died did I realize he had seen the angels I could sense in my spirit. Though we’d earnestly been praying and hoping for his healing, I realized after his death that the angels had actually been waiting for him those last several days. They had come to take him home to be with Jesus.
(The Lord answered many prayers as he compassionately and faithfully cared for my Grandma Mitsuko Frykman in her battle with cancer. He finally took her home to be with him on June 11, 2012, about 2.5 years after he gave me this dream.)
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-58)