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"Death is the Gate to Life"
Part 1 "Of a Baby, a Grave, and Glory"
The daffodils are gone. So are the tulips. Potted lilies have drooped. We celebrated Easter a few weeks ago, but what we celebrated is still coming up in my head. Lilias Trotter said "Death is the gateway of life." She went on to paint gloriously this cycle of life and death and life again. She painted and wrote what I am living. I look at her paintings and sometimes weep. Because they are true. I want to paint, with words for you, some stories that I hope will make you leap with joy, and sometimes weep.
When I was only six months old, my parents -- David and Helen Morken -- took my sister and me to live in the jungles of Sumatra. My uncle and aunt -- Hubert and Helen Mitchell, with their three sons were with us when we sailed across the ocean. Our two families wanted to reach the Kubu tribes. These tribes were aborigines (now called Anak Dalam) who were not included in the government census. They were considered to be nothing more than animals. Our parents wanted them to know that they were precious in God's sight. That God loved them. We would learn their ways and language, and this would help to prepare us to go to Papua New Guinea to reach cannibals that had just been discovered. [My book, "Heart-Cry" is that story and is available here.]
Now some weeks both my Daddy and Uncle Hubert would be out trekking in the jungles, or navigating the crocodile infested rivers, looking for one more Kubu Tribe to tell the Gospel story. The Kubus are a nomadic people, moving in the jungles wherever they can find food. If someone dies, they flee the area quickly, terrified. Often one Daddy would stay home with the two families and I can tell you: I got just as many spankings and lovin' from my Uncle Hubert as I did my own Daddy! Our two families were like one.
It was an exciting day for all of us when Aunt Helen gave birth to a baby girl. Now there would be three girls to play with three boys! But giving birth in the jungles was not always an easy delivery and Aunt Helen died within three days of Jean Marie’s birth. Because of the intense heat of living just 3 degrees off the equator, the dead needed to be buried immediately. Intense joy plummeted to grief. My Father had the burial service. Uncle Hubert asked Mother and Daddy to sing the song He had put to music, “He Giveth More Grace. ” Standing beside the gaping hole in the earth, holding our precious Aunt Helen they sang:
"He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater!
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy.
To multiplied sorrow, His multiplied peace."
Half way through Uncle Hubert could stand alone no longer, and he stepped in between them. Throwing his arms around each of them, he sang with them, his head thrown back Heavenward.
"His love has no limit!
His grace has no measure!
His power has no boundaries known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again!"
Villagers, Dutchmen, Kubu tribesmen, Muslims knelt and as Daddy gave the message, and hearts were changed and converted. Jesus had destroyed the power of death.
Heb. 2:14, 15 says, “He too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death -- that is, the devil-- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Victory was shining through the tears.
That’s not the end of the story.
You will have to wait until next time to hear what happened . . .
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