Dad,” I asked, “Do you have any thoughts on resurrection?” I was hoping he might reach for his dictation machine and give me something for “Moishe’s Musings.” Even though it was only January, the April newsletter would soon be due.
“No. I haven’t been having many deep thoughts lately.”
Dad was tired from fighting cancer, tired from the pain and the meds and tired from the wear and tear that one’s emotions undergo when things don’t turn out as expected.
He thought he would go quickly when we learned that he had metastasized prostate cancer. Then we found out that it could be treated a number of ways. The first couple of ways worked and then timed out—and now he is on chemo.
Dad is grateful for the full and purposeful life God gave him and he still finds many reasons to smile. But I can hardly blame him if, on some days, he would prefer to move on and be with Jesus.
Since I didn’t get a “Moishe’s Musing” for you this month, I hope you don’t mind my sharing a few personal thoughts and feelings about resurrection, from the context of what I’ve described above.
My first thought is so incredibly obvious, I’m almost embarrassed to say it. But sometimes I really need to remind myself of this: Death is necessary; without it, there is no resurrection. Included in this is the reality that we don’t get to choose the time or duration of our dying. That process often requires more endurance and trust than many of us (or our loved ones) feel we can muster, so it’s a time when our reliance on God’s strength and His grace can deepen exponentially. This creates an even greater intimacy with God that is bound to be part of our resurrection life.
Jesus gave us such a perfect example of the right way to die—in God’s timing, with grace, and expressing forgiveness and concern for those around Him. I am so thankful for His example and I hope I can follow it (though not anytime too soon!)
When it comes to the actual Resurrection, I can’t help wondering what it was like for the disciples to see Jesus in a new kind of body that would never die again. I try to picture how that body was different from the one that went into that grave. I really can’t begin to imagine it, or what it will be like to have a resurrection body of my own.
Sometimes the inability to see or imagine a thing makes people doubt whether it is real. Maybe that’s why God wove a resurrection motif throughout creation—including seeds that must fall and be buried in the ground to spring up in a new life… or a caterpillar encased in a dry and seemingly lifeless chrysalis before the butterfly emerges. These small miracles always fill me with wonder, and they provide constant reminders of resurrection hope. Has that been your experience?
Several days passed since I asked my dad about his thoughts on resurrection. I was finishing up these reflections when he called—to tell me he’d just finished his chemo treatment and was feeling great. There was a buoyancy in his voice that I hadn’t heard for a long time. I was filled with joy… and hope that Dad will still have many months and maybe even more than months with days like today. But still, that’s a hope that only stretches so far. I’m so thankful for the greater hope that we have in Jesus, whose Resurrection is the down payment and the promise of the everlasting life we have in Him.
Newsletter Editor, Missionary
Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.