What is Died?

What is Died?

When my 3-year-old son goes to bed we always try to sing him church songs to help him go to sleep. Many of them he knows the words and sings along, but he doesn’t always know what the words mean. One night we were singing one of my favorite songs, “There is a Balm in Gilead.” It’s a song that is a little more complicated than what he is normally used to and that night he wanted to have all his “word” questions answered. They started out simple enough...

“Why is there a balm in Gilead?” To help sick people of course. He was pretty satisfied with my answer. 

“What is a soul?” Ok this one is a little bit more complicated. 

“Well, you know how you can see your feet?”


“And you can see your hands.”


“And you can see your legs.”


“But can you see your eyes?”

He laughed a little bit. “No.”

“Your soul is kinda like your eyes. It’s there, and you know it’s doing its job. Your soul is the most James part of James. God gave it to you before you were born. It’s going to keep being there forever. It’s going to be the part of James that gets to be with Jesus forever.” 

He was a little confused, but he seemed happy with my answer. So I kept singing the song. I probably should have stopped after the first verse. If you don’t know, the second verse goes something like this depending on which version you’re singing. 

If you cannot sing like angels,

If you can't preach like Paul,

You can tell the love of Jesus,

And say He died for all.


“What is died?”


In medical school I was put on the spot on the time during rounds. “What is the most common cause of pancreatitis in a 40-year-old woman?” Or, “What is a physical exam finding in this patient which would be an indication for dialysis?” I have been embarrassed, confused, scared, and borderline harassed with some of the questions I have been asked in training to be a doctor.  I’m not going to lie. This may be the hardest question I have ever been asked by anyone, and it was coming from a 3-year-old. I basically cried through my whole answer because it was at that moment I realized that there is a moment in our life that we don’t yet know the pain of losing someone. There is the beautiful ignorance that we have lost where we never knew what it was like to see someone we love lying lifeless in a casket. We didn’t have to come to an acceptance of our own mortality. There was just the next day with no end in sight. 


But then it ends. 


For me, it was my great-grandfather. 


“Died is when someone we love leaves us and doesn’t come back. Not because they want to, but because they have to go be with Jesus. And even though they can’t come back, we can go and be with them. Then, we all get to be with Jesus. We get to be with the people we love forever. People that Daddy loved very much have died, and you don’t get to meet them here. Daddy had a Grammy like you do, but she is already with Jesus. You will get to meet her when we are all with Jesus. And I miss her very much. When Jesus died, he had to leave people that he loved very much so that we could get to be with him some day. That’s why we tell people about how much Jesus loved us.”


I’m not going to get asked to write for the Society of Biblical Literature for my answer, but it at least gave my son something to think about. Being a Fisher of Men is not about how amazingly we share the message, it’s what the message contains. You don’t have to get complicated with the message. Jesus loves us, that’s what’s important. I’ve used all sorts of complicated lures in the past. Most of the biggest fish I’ve caught have been on a simple night crawler. A lot of times our message doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be what people need to hear. 




Join our mailing list!

Sign up to be updated when new blogs are released and for special offers