By Peter Lundell –
I got a message that a long-ago church member had died a month previously. After a protracted battle with cancer, he finally gave out. I hadn’t seen him for six years, and I had talked with him perhaps three years earlier. His name and phone number were still on my cell phone contact list, just as I had once called it.
It seemed so strange to have a contact number and an email address for someone who was no longer on earth.
If I called his number, who would answer? So I called: Three screechy tones, then, “We’re sorry. You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the area code and the number and try your call again.” Beep, beep, beep, beep . . .
I wondered what it would be like if the phone company had a message like, “We’re sorry. The person at this number has left the rat race on earth and entered eternity. We hope you can make contact when you go there too.” I doubt I’ll ever hear that.
Anyone with a cell phone has added and deleted names and numbers from the contact list. But when I went to do it this time, I stopped and could only stare at the name. Erasing his name seemed like something only God should do.
When I finally erased it, I did so with reverence—and sadness that a life had slipped away in obscurity. Others who had known him well hadn’t heard about his death either.
But God knew him—and I’m sure welcomed him as he checked into heaven. No matter how obscure we are, whether in life or in death, the important thing is being known by God.
“Father, You know my name. You know who I am. I’m not very well known on earth, but I don’t need to be. You know me. I am Yours and You are mine. And I am in the palm of Your hand….”
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains” (Psalm 116:15-16 NIV).