People all over the world die every day. But when it hits close to home death becomes different; personal, sadder, even poignant.
It happened to me this week. Two of my very close friends died within three days. One was a friend of fifty years and the other’s friendship entwined my life for sixty years.
I will miss these ladies and their enduring friendship very much to say the least. But I take comfort in the fact that they are now truly home. Yes, I do believe in life after death.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25,26
I also take comfort in knowing that my loss is God’s gain. And that’s the upside of grief.
It started with Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. His devoted followers were waving palm branches, and spreading them on the path before him. According to Wikipedia, the palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life originating in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world.
What the crowds did not know that day was that Jesus was riding towards his death. His death would fulfill the plan that He had come to earth for thirty-three years earlier; the plan that included a trial, a scourging, and a crucifixion; the plan that He agreed to, to save humanity from the power of sin.
We know today as Palm Sunday, and the week to come as Holy week, but after Easter it will be remembered as the week that was. Happy Sunday.
I spoke to a lady yesterday whose husband died in January. He was in Long Term Care, and visiting wasn’t an option because of Covid-19 closures. However, she did get a call from the home to come quickly on January 31st because her husband was very weak.
Shanta was able to hold his hand, sing to him and quote scripture, all the while holding him in love and prayer. She felt gentle little squeezes from his fingers throughout this time, and then there was a very definite strong pressure before his hand went limp in hers. It was a poignant time for my friend as her husband bid her farewell with a final squeeze.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
Two sets of parents very recently held funerals for their twelve-year-old sons just three weeks before Christmas. I can’t even begin to imagine their heartbreak. Even though it hurts just to think about the grief being endured, I take comfort in Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. May God grant them the grace to live each day in His strength.
Under these circumstances it is difficult to say Happy Sunday.
This month, November, one of my dear friends of many years lost her sister at age fifty-nine.
In September of this year this same friend’s mother died.
In November of 2019, less than a year before her mother, her father was the first of the family to go to heaven.
That’s the bad news. (Not that they went to heaven but that they died.)
The good news is that Anna’s complete faith and trust in God is giving her the peace, comfort, strength, and stamina she needs to release her family into His loving arms, when her arms can no longer hold them.
Yes, the bad news is that my friend has lost her parents and only sister, but the good news is she has not lost her trust. Amen.
Another of my church friends climbed the stairway to heaven yesterday, leaving behind happy memories in the wake of grief. Joanne’s husband, daughters, family and friends will miss her smiling face and gentle ways for a long time to come but will take comfort in knowing that she will be as loved in heaven as she was here on earth.
Dying has to be one of life’s most grievous tasks, and yet, as we all know, it is inevitable.
May we all take consolation in knowing that this dear lady faced the end of life as she had always faced life itself, with grace, dignity and love.
We never know where in the world our paths will cross another’s. Leroy “Butch” Dean entered my life in what I like to refer to as Bloggersville a few years ago. Butch “liked” and commented on one of my blogs and became a faithful follower as I did of his.
With a sense of shock I read his final blog posted on October 22nd, the title of which was “I’ve Changed My Address”. True to his faith, Butch opened his post with this paragraph…
“If you are reading this, then I have left this earthly life to be with my heavenly Father. Now I see face to face and how I wish I could share that with you. What I can share with you is God’s merciful love for you that He tells us about in John 3:16. The most significant moment in my life was accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I encourage you to accept and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”
I, along with many other bloggers, will miss Butch’s posts, “likes” and encouragement, not to mention his very strong and up front faith.
Because Butch is happily home with his heavenly Father, I can still say, Happy Saturday.
Another of our church members and friend was called home to Heaven yesterday. Bill was in his one hundredth year and would have completed it in five months.
I happened to read Hebrews 9:15 this morning, For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—
It made me question who are the called and suddenly the thought of Bill came to mind. I’m sure the scripture has another meaning but I am comforted that my immediate reaction was that he was called home.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Rev. 21:4
A young friend of mine just lost her mother to life’s final chapter. My friend was with her mom at the end and described her as a “beautiful, sweet, little soul.” And she was; a lovely dedicated Christian woman who never forgot who the Lord of her life was. It reminded me of Ecclesiastes 12:6 … Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed…and that reminded me of this hymn. Happy Sunday.