Living With The End in Mind

My perspective on life and death changed drastically that day.  I remember sitting on the front porch of my sweet friend Katie, staring out at the roof tops and the sky full of clouds beyond.  Nothing really mattered anymore.  Heaven and eternity became real in a matter of seconds, and all I longed for was a day with no more suffering.  As a believer in Jesus, I know that a day is coming that every tear will be wiped away and the trials of this life will have surpassed, but that day, that truth became a sobering hope I clung to.


As humans, our finite minds and perspectives operate day to day and week to week with an end in mind.  We just have to get through the day’s schedule, we need to get past that big interview, we can’t wait for that birthday celebration, we count down the days until Christmas or summer break, we tally up how many more hours until we have completed those college requirements, we keep track of how many more weeks or months until that wedding or until that baby is due to arrive, we consider how many more miles until we reach our destination, we even celebrate the coming of each new year with the countdown on a giant jumbo screen.  I find myself often floating through life with these pseudo arrivals, gaining satisfaction with the check of every box and completed task.

The day my son died, I was stressed out, cleaning my home in preparation for company.  I hurriedly put both of my boys down for their afternoon naps, continuing my cleaning rampage and checking things off my imaginary to do list.  The morning had been filled with a few hours of work for my children’s ministry job at the time, while both of my boys spent time at a friend’s house.  I look back on that day with a heavy heart, because if I had known that day would be the last day to hold, kiss, hug and nurse my four month old, my day would have looked drastically different.

During Tyler’s celebration of life service, my husband said a few words, but there are a few I will never forget. With tears in his eyes, a trembling voice, and a swift fist bang on the pulpit, he said, “Death is real and people matter.”  The profoundness of this statement has stuck with me for the last five years. Scripture tells us that our lives are but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow, but when life is suddenly cut short with little or no warning, that truth stares you straight in the eyes.


“Death is real and people matter.”


Death and tragedy awaken something within the human spirit.  The insignificant worries and trivial details of our lives starkly come into view.  The things that once seemed urgent and important, fall to the wayside, and the things that remain are that life is precious and the people around us matter.  In saying goodbye to my son for now, and desperately longing for Heaven, I am reminded that there are a lot of hurting and lost people who fiercely need the good news of Jesus.  As believers, we have a hope that others need, and an obligation to share that hope, boasting in what God has done in our lives.

God is using our situations, our losses, our trials, our stories to bring LIFE to others.  When my son died, I remember wanting his short little life to matter.  Five years later, I see God’s faithfulness in using our story to bring glory to His name and to bring meaning to our loss. Just this week I had the privilege of sitting with a precious mom of three who is only raising two children on earth.  She is wrestling with the things of God, wondering of His realness, asking who He is, and pondering what faith and life and death even mean.  By sharing about Tyler, my personal grief and telling our story, God is using all of that pain to minister to this lovely woman and testifying of His goodness even in the face of tragedy.

Death changes the way we live, one way or another.  It would be easy when we are faced with death and tragedy to curl up, stay in bed and stop living. To give up on any future happiness or joy and succumb to the fear, anxiety and captivity we experience. But God has so much more in store for us.  He says, “I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) God desires for us to have a rich and bountiful life; the only way to fully live in this life is to live fully in Him.  We are never promised tomorrow, so I urge you, don’t miss an opportunity to lean in and embrace your situation, right now, and ask the Lord what He has for you in it.


God desires for us to have a rich and bountiful life; the only way to fully live in this life is to live fully in Him.


Christ’s death has changed our future as believers.  We no longer fear death, because for us, death is simply the beginning.  With that confidence, it should change the way we live out our lives here on earth.  I want to arrive at the feet of Jesus exhausted, out of breath, bruised knees and battle scars – proof that I lived every day with an end in mind. What would it look like for you to maintain an eternal perspective in the busyness of life?  Who around you needs the hope that only Jesus can bring today?  When we fix our gaze on Jesus and lift our eyes to meet His, there is a peace that whatever our circumstances are, God in His graciousness has an end in mind for those that love Him that will far surpass every hurt and broken heart.  You, my friend, matter, but most of all, Christ matters, so let’s live like it.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18


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Image Credit: Philipp Zieger, Creative Commons

Jen Rumley


Jen Rumley is a wife to a pastor hubby and a mom to three little boys on earth and one in Heaven. She is learning to break free of the shackles of insecurity and people pleasing, and grateful for a God who is patient in her struggles with pride and selfishness. She loves all things people, especially over coffee and good food, but cherishes her alone time that she sneaks in ever so often. She is a recovering control freak and is learning to embrace the thick dust that often lays piled up on furniture in her home, along with dried food smudges left by kiddos. If there were two things that she hopes her life would be marked by would be that she loved God and loved people well.

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