Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Our Hope - Sep 18

Nearly two weeks ago my grandmother died.

She was 87 years old and in the last 2 or 3 years her health and mental state took a rapid downward spiral. She passed away in the presence of her 7 children and their husbands or wives at home in bed. Her final words to each of them was a whisper that required all of her final energy. 'I love you'. She told them with a tremulous, yet peaceful smile. What more perfect last words are there?

A service was held for her on the weekend. The first five rows were for family - children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I sat in the fifth row looking out at her legacy and thought, 'Wow, look at what you started!'. Many of her children tearfully went to the podium and with great effort managed to speak of her life and what she meant to them. The theme was always one of love. How loved she was as a mother and how she loved them as her children and grandchildren. Precious memories shared by many of us.

However, as I listened through the tears and the sniffles, something stuck me. Though all of her children were grieving, some were truly broken. The eulogies went on and near the end, it occured to me why some were more devastated than others. My grandmother was a follower of Christ and all of her children were raised in the faith, but not all of them had stayed close to the Lord in their adult years. To most of my aunts and uncles, this was not goodbye, this was 'See you in Heaven'. For them there is hope in the promise of Christ, that through Him we will not die but have everlasting life. We all knew where my grandmother was. She was safe, in the arms of a God whom we love, trust and are in a relationship with. To those of us with faith, she was not truly gone. She is simply waiting to see us again.

Then there were her other children. They sobbed and were overwhelmed by grief, believing that they had lost their mother forever. It broke my heart to see they had no hope, no promise. To them she was simply dead. Gone forever... and it crushed them.

During the time of gathering afterwards we had a chance to minister to those who were without faith and hope. But on my way home I was still in awe of the difference. God is so good and He offers us such hope and promise. He is just so loving and faithful. In truth, we spend very little time on this earth compared to eternity in Heaven. Those we love who go before us into Heaven wait but the blink of an eye to be with us again. And once we are together again, we stay with each other and Christ forever.

To me, just as my grandmother's last words to her children were 'I love you'. When God gathers us to Him as we leave this world, I believe His words will be the same. 'I love you'.

Lord, thank you so much for the priceless gift of hope you give to us. I can't imagine grieving without the promise of being reunited with our loved ones again. You are so full of love for us, and you always love us no matter where we are or how we feel about You. I pray your hand upon those who mourn without you. Please comfort them, and help us to be truly grateful for the gift of each day. All good thing come from You. Amen.

Faith Girl

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