Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Believing the Unseen Promise...

Often times at a “Christian” funeral, a well-meaning pastor will read these holy words from 1 Corinthians 15.54-57. “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NASB). Especially at a funeral these words beg for an explanation because most everyone at the funeral is feeling the horrific sting of death. We still feel that sting because death still wins. At a funeral we are reminded that death has once again won the victory. And death will continue to sting and persist in winning because the perishable has not yet put on the imperishable and the mortal has not yet put on immortality (15.53). As Christians who hope in the return of Christ and anticipate our own resurrection, we must admit that in 1 Cor 15, Paul is teaching us to believe the promise we do not yet see. We are waiting for death’s defeat. We are longing for relief from death’s sting. Our family is presently feeling that sting because death defeated my father-in-law this morning. Please read about this extraordinary man of faith.

Paul Dean Banister - 66 
3/28/1941 - 4/10/2007

Somonauk - Paul Dean Banister, 66, of Somonauk, IL passed away Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at his home. He was born March 28, 1941 in Sugar Grove, IL, the son of Fred and Florence Viola (Hyte) Banister. He married Julia Darlene Rutherford on August 16, 1970 in Cleveland, OH. 

He was a rural mail carrier . He was a Veteran of the United States Army. He loved the Lord and his family. He enjoyed woodworking, fishing, reading and working.

He is survived by his wife, Julia of Somonauk; one daughter, Yulinda (David) Johnson of Tyler, TX; three sons, John (Holly) Banister of Serena, IL, Paul (Theresa) Banister of Somonauk, IL and Joel (Lora) Banister of Kansas City, MO; his mother, Florence (Hyte) Banister of Joliet, IL; two sisters, Audrey (Myron) Pennington of Plainfield, IL, and Sally McDonald of Albia, IA; two brothers, Vernel Banister of Albia, IA and Jerry (Betty) Banister of Prescott Valley, AZ; nine grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, one brother, Clarence and two sisters, Thelma Graver and Betty LaGrand.

Funeral Services will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, April 14, 2007 Turner-Eighner Funeral Home in Somonauk with Pastor Roy Cherington officiating. Burial will follow at Oak Mound Cemetery in Somonauk. Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13, 2007 at Turner-Eighner Funeral Home in Somonauk.

However, the sting and victory of death are both short-lived. We Christians just concluded our celebration of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. That event decisively defeated death. It was, in effect, D-day, the battle that determined the end of the war. Yet, we are still awaiting VE Day, the day when the victory will be universally realized and there will be no more death, crying, or pain (Rev 21-22).

As a young child, my father-in-law taught me a song in children’s church that was based on Hebrews 11.1. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (NASB). Our family cannot presently see the reality that death has been defeated. However, faith compels us to believe in spite of what we see. Faith drives us to trust God’s promise when MOST of everything around us screams that death has not been defeated. I emphasize “most of everything” because even in the midst of our pain, God has reminded us that he is right there with us in the pain, providing us with glimpses of the peace we will enjoy in the Eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

I praise and thank God for a godly man who stayed faithful to his God and family; for a man who taught me and lived before me the faith that believes the unseen and by which “the men of old gained approval” (Heb 11.2).

1 comment:

Sam Oughton said...

At the end Paul knew it wasn't what men thought of him which mattered but rather his relationship with his Lord. I don't know what struggles Paul had in Earthly life, but I'm sure like the rest of us he had his fair share. I would like to hear how he faced a few of these in his fatih.

I know it's not in victory that God is proved, but rather in His peace, love and grace after following His will in the Spirit.

Brother Sam