Tag : eternity
Tag : eternity
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.
Elle’s death hurt me beyond words; fortunately and unfortunately, it changed me. I regret it took me so long to learn her parting wish for me—to love a friend again. I had some healing to get through and some growing up to do. I am glad I was gifted with such a special relationship for a season.
I have learned that the Lord gives us each person in our lives for some special reason. That’s why He keeps saying that every one of us is so unique and valuable, The relationship I had with Elle was forged by Him in a way that reached the deepest part of my heart, in a way I had never expected or experienced before. This was partly because of the book we wrote together, but there was so much more.
For a long time after her death I was angry and then I just felt lost. Subsequently, I have kept a lot of people at arms length in my life and in my heart because I feared they’d die. It seemed as if so many people around me have teetered between life and death, and I didn’t think I had the heart, energy, or faith to deal with any kind of death after Elle.
But what I have realized, in the almost four years since she’s been gone, is that we all are teetering. That is, we are all teetering on the edge between life and death—both physically and spiritually. Our lives are fleeting. Yes, it’s a cliché, but unfortunately, it’s a fact. I’ve seen it with the passing of my beloved Grandma, Uncle, two Aunts, and up-close twice with two of my dearest friends. I’ve witnessed the anguish and prayed for a lot of people who have walked through the process and pain of dying and death. These last few years, I’ve witnessed the pain, struggle, and teetering with my mother as she battled cancer. And finally, I witnessed the journey, struggle, and death of my father-in-law.
There is only One whom each and everyone of us has to hold onto, God. Everyone else will fall away in some form or fashion —relationships end, ties break, and yes, there’s death. However, a dear friend told me, “When it comes to the moment where we teeter closer to death, it is only God that is with us, even though physically others may be around. He truly is all we need.
Yes, life is fragile and temporary but the next one is more real and eternal. And every now and then when death draws near, we get to see and long to be where our Father waits. And Jesus, who is the light and love, waits for us to come home. We may all fear death, sometimes not so much the idea of death itself, but the pain of dying. What I have learned is that while our hearts may yearn for heaven because we know the blessings that await us, we need to keep doing our best to faithfully complete the work the Lord gives us.
For many who have not reached this state of consciousness and growth yet, I ask you to open your hearts again. Stop rejecting those around you, rather do as Jesus asked —no commanded us—to do, LOVE. Bring people in. Bring them into your life, your family, your home, and into your hearts. Stop manipulating religion, politics, race, and anything else as an excuse to reject, but rather use them all as reasons to love. Love our uniqueness, love our differences, love our different paths, and most importantly, love others as you wish to be loved. Unconditionally.
May the Lord forge a friendship for you where you show love and are loved so deeply that it blesses you even when the piercing sting of death hits your heart.
We would love for you to join us for POP Chat this Wednesday, February 24th at 6:30 p.m. when Pearls of Promise Team Marketing Director, Aurora Ortega Geis, will be speaking about “How to Navigate Change.” Aurora is a Business Strategist, Leadership Coach and the Founder of A GO Strategy, a Leadership & Life Coaching, Consulting and Digital Marketing Company.
Our Worship Leader for this POP Chat will be Renee Rollins. Renee is a Singer/Songwriter who has performed at the Olympics. She is currently the Worship Leader for the Pre-Service Prayer at Gateway Church’s Shabbat Service. Her music has been heard locally on Dallas radio stations and in Hawaii, her home state.
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