More alive than ever

Posted in From Al & Libbie, General, Reflections at 10:52 pm by Al

As Libbie mentioned in her note yesterday, we had a memorial service for a dear friend from church today. I was struck during the reading of the scripture for the homily (2 Corinthians 4:7-18) by the words that God’s power is shown even in our dying bodies. I can honestly say that in these past few months I have felt more alive than almost any other period in my life. God has been near and showing his goodness at every turn, large issues and small. While I would not have chosen it this way, the recent months have been a special time of knowing and seeing God and his love in powerful ways.

While the perishable flesh is clearly fading for me, life only grows more vivid. As Dick Gaffin, my teacher and now colleague for the past 25 years, told our class years ago: In Christ, we are as resurrected today as we ever will be. We have already been seated in the heavenlies. We await only the putting on of the imperishable body, which means putting off the perishable. The resurrection. The great hope we have in Christ. May God give us all a fresh vision of that hope, and may he loose the power of the resurrection in our lives as we live from day to day.

Death, the perishing of this body, is not the end, but a gateway to life in his presence, a life which is beyond what we can currently imagine, a life where we are face-to-face with Jesus at all times and able to worship him with total freedom. How great is our savior and his salvation for us.

Blessings, Al


  1. Mary Ann Ibrahim said,

    November 9, 2006 at 12:02 pm

    I praise GOD for your FAITH. Your LIFE is a testimony of how GOD walks
    with us in all circumstances. Thank you for sharing your Godly wisdom and insight in this website. PRAISE GOD!

    In Christ,
    Mary Ann

  2. Tim Geisse said,

    November 9, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    Your words remind me, as someone has said, we all are on a journey from the land of the dying to the land of the living.

  3. Kristen said,

    November 9, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Tears come so often when I read anything you guys write. And I realized today that they are more often tears of gratitude and awe for this amazing God, than of just sadness (though there will always be that) for what is happening. Thank you–all of you–for writing (and therefore, it follows, thinking and believing) in such a way as inspires worship and joy in the midst. I am blessed to know you!

  4. MD said,

    November 9, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Thankyou so much for speaking to our hearts in this way!

  5. Craig Combs said,

    November 10, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Oh, yes, yes.
    Preach it.
    And Amen.

  6. Caio said,

    November 10, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    It is so good for reading this! We believe the great power of God and the love of it. We wait, to each day, to live the life of it!

  7. John Szto said,

    November 10, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Dear Al:

    Sorry, for staying away so long. As I had the chance to write you earlier this summer, I have been dealing with ‘the valley of the shadow of death,’ with my own mom. In September, she fell, broke her hip, had surgery, went into rehab, suffered internal bleeding, had to return to the emergency room, had to an an endoscopy and surgery for internal bleeding, was in the MICU, returned home, fell again; and started rehab at home. She is 84. She needs constant 24 hour care, in which my elderly father, 82, and I remain at home, to take care of her. This is Chinese-American/Reformed rehab.

    I am glad, that you are experiencing the joy of the Lord, as we are also experiencing the things you talked about –our bodies dying, while our inner being renewed by the resurrection of Christ. We are praying for my mom’s recovery, and also yours!! Meanwhile, I recently went back to the doctors to get my own lungs checked. My former doctor left, but the new one said — you are alive after three years of not seeing a doctor? Ama-zing..or in Christian terminology –‘Amazing Grace.’ Keep fighting Al! Glad that you are hanging in there!!


    John Van Tao Szto

  8. Phil Stebbins said,

    November 11, 2006 at 8:23 am

    Always enjoy these. What an incredible witness. God bless you! And thanks.

  9. Eep Talstra said,

    November 12, 2006 at 9:04 am

    Dear Alan,
    Thank you for your words about life. It reminded me of a century old debate about the well known text of Job 19:26. After the words: I know that my Redeemer lives, come those words that are as difficult to understand as they are true. Yet in my flesh, I will see God (NIV), where others translate: even without my flesh I will see God. Churchfathers have long debated what that means (and as a well trained hebraist, you will understand). Is it about
    seeing God now, even when your body is weakening? Or is it about seeing God, after your body has been perished by death?
    I think you have presented yourself as a good churchfather to all of us,
    indicating that it really is both. Seeing God has begun already and will continue after death has taken our body. It is a blessing that you clearly experience now, and it is a blessing too that you are open to see it.
    If I read the comments made by others, I think you have been blessed
    by more understanding friends than Job ever was. Christ has changed the
    world, I think.
    Greetings from Eep, Arendjan and (at this moment without their formal permission, since they are not with me here) Harmen and Inge.

  10. Peter Conway said,

    November 13, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you Al, and you too, Libbie, for demonstarting how to rightly walk thru the valley of the shadow of death. When it comes to be our turn, perhaps sooner than we think, your guidebook will map the way.

    I love you all so much,


  11. Donna Berkowitz said,

    November 15, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    Dear Al and Libbie,
    Your website has been such an encouragement to me, echoing many of the same thoughts and feelings I had (and also saw in Jake) a year ago. It is amazing but so consistent with God’s character and steadfastness that we all go (zoom in!) to the same promises and verses at these times. (and the same hymns and songs that echo these promises). I don’t know why I am at all surprised or amazed since it becomes very clear during suffering that there really is nowhere else to go! It is just comforting and reinforcing to my faith to see it done over and over again. My prayers will continue to be with your family. Donna B.

  12. George and Mardel Landis said,

    November 16, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    “How great is Our God, sing with me, How great is Our God, and all will see how great, how great is Our God….
    He’s the Name above all Names, He is worthy of our praise, and my heart will sing, How great is Our God….
    so sing with me…”

    This is from a song I have loved to sing recently. AL and Libbie, you have made me sing and praise our God more as I read your updates because of the sheer beauty of faith which is being shown to all of us. “O, the deep, deep love of Jesus” is flowing through you to all of us.

    We love you Grove family.

    George, Mardel, Jalen, Gavin and Owen

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