Death should never be considered natural and is always tragic. Yet as Pastor Ed Compean, a SSMF missionary that serves in Nairobi, Kenya, relates, even the death of an infant provides an opportunity for God’s glory and truth to be unveiled.
Today we went to bury an 8-month old.
The casket holding Happy Wanjiru simply rode from the mortuary to the rural cemetery on a seat in the matatu with family crowded around it. It was a hard day and now in the comfort of my home, I reflect back.
Death is not natural
Though I’ve come to accept death and know all of us will have our own casket one day, I’ll never accept it is natural. Death has never been natural, it is the result of separation of the natural relationship we were designed to have with God.
Death is inorganic, it is mankind made and has leached into all. I see it as an enemy and I’m never at peace with it. At the same time I accept death as inevitable, know it will be gain and in many ways look forward to casting off this corrupt flesh. But I do not accept it as natural.
I’ve come to see joy in this life only comes in relation to knowing we can be reconciled to God. Without restoration of relationship, misery is natural. With joy it is hard enough to stand over a coffin seemingly built for a doll. At least I can know it is not a natural situation and something so much better is coming.
The People I minister with are the best
Earlier today in a hard packed, weed choked and dusty cemetery, Happy’s small casket rested graveside on a stool. Our good friend Pastor Murigi gave a hope filled message that invited all present to be reconciled to God.
He gave great honor to Happy’s memory and her family. Even greater honor was to the God that knows His own pain of loosing a child. Veronica and other ladies we’ve ministered with for years led hymns and choruses that seemed to strike the right balance of somber remembrance and joyful future expectation.
Other men and women we co-labor with took time off work to travel to the burial in support our friends who lost Happy. In Kenyan style, all took turns in burying Happy. We all left with dirt under their fingernails. I like that.
I was humbled to consider many of those same friends had stood over too many other too small caskets. Sometimes it was the caskets of their own children: their messages, prayers, songs and service were heartfelt and deep.
My respect and honor for them is also heartfelt and deep.
As is typical in Kenyan burials, everyone present was invited back to the family homestead for a simple meal. This time it was chai and bread.
Pastor Murigi gathered the people from Githurai together and suggested we put together an offering to help the parents of Happy. With utmost respect to my friends, none of them have an extra shilling. Most live day to day. Yet when Murigi asked the Githruai people for a small offering for Happy’s parents, they were obviously, and generously, prepared to give. Well worn, dirty and folded notes came out of pockets and were given to the parents.
Death Brings Reconciliation
As we began to make our way back to Githurai I noticed Pastor Njoroge and pastor in training Kevin were bent talking and praying with couple young men from the homestead. They were casually going through scriptures and answering questions from their small and tattered Bibles.
As we left someone told me Kevin had shared how to be reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus with one of the young men. He had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. His relationship with God was reconciled.
It seems the death of Happy had brought many questions and the two evangelists were in the right place at the right time to be used of God.
I love seeing my friends in ministry pour out their lives for the sake of the gospel, but more so I love seeing people realize the grace of God saves them.
Thank you for letting me pour this out. Typically this would be a scribbled entry without spell check into my journal, but somehow it was good to type.