I’m getting to be that age where friends are starting to pass away.
Tomorrow we will honor an old church friend of ours from San Antonio who died suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Beth had an underlying heart condition, so she herself joked that she probably would not live a long life, but even so, it’s still shocking when you get the call.
It’s been fifteen years since we lived in San Antonio but I believe the people God brings into your life—from childhood, college, that first job, and adulthood—are all a part of God’s plan for you. I can still hear Beth’s voice.
As a child, I remember being excluded a lot. I was a poor girl in a wealthy environment. I was extremely insecure because of my dysfunctional home life, so my personality was suppressed in many ways. But what I remember about Beth is that she was always inclusive. My husband was in an Emmaus small group with her husband. I was not in her Emmaus small group, yet when there were gatherings, she still invited me, and that was meaningful.
We even played tennis together in a tournament once and we were great doubles partners. In fact, we made it to the finals of one tournament and we were determined to win the title, but then it was obvious that one of our opponents in the championship match was fighting cancer. She wore a scarf to cover her head, probably because of the chemo treatments. Beth and I just crumbled in compassion and lost the desire to win at all cost. However, our opponents did not let down and proceeded to thrash us soundly!
The beautiful thing about a Christian friend’s death is that we are confident we will see them again. It’s goodbye for now. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:19-20).
It’s a hope that I am betting my life on. It give me peace knowing that when a friend or loved one dies, it’s not the end if they have accepted Jesus as LORD and Savior. There will be an eternity of fellowship waiting for us when we cross over into the next life.
Yes, I am mourning the loss of a friend, along with so many others who knew her, but while there is grief, there is also joy that she’s with Jesus now, the One who made it possible through His sacrifice on the cross. Beth, save a spot for me on the heavenly court. I can’t imagine losing in Heaven.