An Eternal Perspective on Life & Death

I shared the following on the Caring Bridge for our dear missionary friends whose twin premie boys are fighting for their lives in the NIC unit in Managua, Nicaragua. -JB
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace” (2 Corinthians 4:16 The Message).

When Psalm 139 talks about our being “knit together in our mother’s womb” and declares that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” it refers to our entire being — our body, soul and spirit. As the Team Jurgenson family gathers together each day around this Caring Bridge site to hear daily reports on Felipe and Andrew, it is easy to just focus on the state of their physical bodies. For people of faith, the medical procedures and doctor’s reports are only a part of the story — and not even the most important part.

For while Andrew’s body is so very weak and Felipe’s body appears to be “falling apart” on him at the moment, we believe that “on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace” (2 Cor 4:16). This is a profound mystery and can only be understood through the eyes of faith. Our human eyes can only see the ventilators, tubes, swollen abdomen, discolored skin, and underdeveloped bodies. Yet, our spiritual eyes remind us that God sings over them all through the night, that angels provide non-stop comfort that goes unseen, that Jesus caresses their fragile frames and “the Spirit himself testifies with their spirit that they are God’s children” (Rom. 8:16).

Life is a precious gift and our children each possess a huge piece of our heart, and so we will do anything to keep them with us on this earth. But again God’s word invites us to have an eternal perspective that when our loved ones appear to be slipping away from us physically, they are actually inching closer to their heavenly papa’s lap and the eternal kind of “life that far outweights these momentary troubles” (Rom. . Yes, friends, while we continue to pray fervantly for physical healing and miraculous strides for Felipe and Andrew, we must also remember that from an eternal perspective, because of Christ’s victory over the grave, even the worst possible outcome for us is a victory for them: “To live is Christ but to die is even better” (Phil. 1:21). As much as we want to know and love these boys for many years in this life, nevertheless “we are always confident and know that as long as [they] are at home in the body [they] are away from the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6). When this reality starts to sink in, we begin to give ourselves permission to say with the Apostle Paul that “we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6).

The doctors are doing everything in their ability to care for Andrew and Felipe’s physical bodies. We get regular, specific updates on their bodies. But what of their soul and spirit? They “are being renewed day by day!” It is our job to trust the Great Physician of the Soul and lift prayers and praises up to “the God of all comfort” who is caring for their eternal spirit in ways we cannot even begin to fathom. So let us continue praying for every molecule of their precious bodies to be healed and to develop. Let us continue to pray against the infections, intestinal blockages, perforations, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia in the lungs. But let us also remember to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). “For while we are in this body, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:4).

Let me finish with a story. I visited a woman in the hospital recently who had a heart attack and was unconscious in a semi-coma like state. Like the twins she was depending on a ventilator to breathe. As the Bible says, her “outward body was wasting away.” Before I grabbed her hand to begin praying and reading Scripture to her, her daughter shared an amazing story. As she was slipping out of consciousness the day of the heart attack, she heard her mother muttering something about her toes in Lake Minnetonka. Turns out that she had attended our baptism service the other Sunday, and she came forward during the invitation to renew her baptism by dipping her toes in Lake Minnetonka. Her daughter said that it was a meaningful day for her. Now as I took her hands and begin to speak to her spirit, I began to talk about Jesus meeting her on the beach that day, and how he was preparing a place for her, and that she had nothing to fear. I prayed Jesus’ peace to surround her and comfort her, etc. And as I spoke to her spirit (for her body was largely unresponsive or paralyzed), her eyes opened and she was visibly excited as I ministered to her spirit through God’s Word and the power of prayer. Her daughter looked at me and said, “Wow, her spirit is still very much alive!” I said, “Yes, the doctors will focus on her body, but we need to minister to her spirit — which is very much alive!”

I experienced firsthand that day the truth that “Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace” (2 Corinthians 4:16 The Message). As her body was shutting down that day, and her brain was losing its function, I believe Jesus was meeting her again in the spirit on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, with love in his eyes and assurance on his face. And Jesus said to her what he says to us, and to Seth and Leslie, and to Natalia, and to Felipe and Andrew:

“I’m here with you. It’s going to be ok — whatever comes to pass. Your present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in you (Rom. 8:18). In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33). I’m going to prepare a place for you, and when the time is right, I will come back to get you — so where I am, you will also be (John 14). I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even if they die (John 11:25). No, in all these things you are more than conquerors. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from my love (Rom. 8:36-39!”

 Read more about the Jurgenson twins — Felipe and Andrew — at http://www.youcaring.com/teamjurgenson.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Char Rotvold says:

    Jeremy, thank you. This is beautiful. Our family has been praying for these precious little ones

    Blessings on your day,

    Char Rotvold

    Care and Connections Pastor Faith Covenant Church 12921 Nicollet Avenue South Burnsville, MN 55337

    952-890-3110 x20 952-895-1129 (fax)

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