Precious Departure

Sculptor Liz Shepherd’s 2018 exhibition The Wait, was described by a Boston Globe correspondent as “evok[ing] the precious, exposed, and transcendent in life.” Inspired by the time Shepherd spent at her dying father’s bedside, the exhibition attempts to convey yearning, the emptiness of loss, and the fragile sense that loved ones are just out of reach.

The idea that death is precious might seem counterintuitive; however, the psalmist declares, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15). God treasures the death of his saints, for in their passing he welcomes them home.

Who are these faithful servants (“saints” nkjv) of God? According to the psalmist, those who serve the Lord in gratitude for His deliverance, who call on His name and honor the words they speak before Him (Psalm 116:16–18). Such actions represent deliberate choices to walk with God, accept the freedom He offers, and cultivate a relationship with Him.

In so doing, we find ourselves in the company of Jesus, who is “chosen by God and precious to him . . . for in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame’” (1 Peter 2:4–6). When our trust is in the Lord, our departure from this life is precious in His sight.

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