A dear friend of mine exhaled her last earthly breath and inhaled her first heavenly one today. Actually, even though I’d consider us friends, another term might be spiritual grandmother, because she was 50+ years older than me.
Interestingly enough, I’ve been meditating the past few weeks on 2 Corinthians 5. “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.” Praise, praise, praise God for the hope and gift of eternity in His presence.
In years past, Helen and I would hug or chat in the hallways of our church. In recent years, I would take Anna over to visit. But one of my favorite part of friendship with her was our letters. Being a big fan of writing and snail mail, it’s not a surprise for me. But I appreciate now how kind she was to respond. She loved me with words directly to me but also with the parts of her life I could see. I want to share a few of her words as a way to remember her and reflect on the goodness of God…
I’ve always told everyone if you think of me pray for me. My life now is the by product of much prayer, by many people. There is no doubt in my mind my life today is the result of many making the throne of God a destination of their prayers on my behalf.
The verse I am musing on at present is Isaiah 50:4. When I wake up in the morning I am already equipped with an instructed tongue to speak words that sustain the weary. He has woken our ears to listen to Him – Huge!
When talking about her husband Jake after he passed she wrote, The thoughts of him being restored to who he was keep me from being depressed. I know he is having a good time. He loved people and there are so many family and friends already there he is probably wishing we all could be there with him to enjoy it. I can just imagine Jesus saying, “Calm down son, you’re going to be here awhile!“
I can think of a lot of things I’d like much more of but what’s necessary is what He says I have much more of – like – Matthew 6:30. He has clothed me “much more” than lilies of the field. That means He considers us more beautiful than any flower He every created – wow! The much much of Romans 5, verse 9, I’m “much more” justified by Jesus than any charge, sin, or condemnation the enemy can bring. My judge declares me not guilty! Verse 10, I’m “much more” reconciled, that means Jesus has settled the difference between us and Holy God. Verse 15, “much more” grace abounds, Jesus’ gift to us so “much more” covers the death penalty we were under. Verse 17 Jesus gives us grace and righteousness in Him so we can reign in life. Since Jesus is my Savior no sin can prevent me from living with Him forever! Isn’t it great, He’s given us “much more” of everything we have need of! I pray you “much more.”
In a letter from 2015, when sharing with me things I could pray for her about, she ended her note with ‘I pray you and John have a long happy God-led journey. It’s great! Love, Helen.’
She believed life with God was great and so do I. And to know she is looking into the eyes of our Lord and delighting in perfect fellowship with Him floods me with peace and determination as every day I myself am moving closer to Home.
For this was always my best vocation: to grow into a truer and truer image-bearer of my God, learning to know you, trust you, love you more. My worth to you was never the measure of what I could do or accomplish by my own hand. All along, you passionately loved me as your child, delighting to lead by your Spirit into closer and more constant communion with yourself. And so my life will be no less significant in the moment I draw my last breath than it was in the moment I drew my first. For each of those breaths — and all between — are set within the span you ordained for me to live and move and breathe in this body, in this world. All moments are equally fraught with your love, your wonder, your holiness, your purpose, however clouded and inscrutable such mystery might sometimes seem amidst the hurts and harms of a broken world. Every Moment Holy