I want to share a very recent happening that is full of sadness, yet alive with joy! Just one day beyond her 88th birthday, my mother passed away. Tears poured and memories soared. My loss is still extremely fresh, almost overwhelming at times, but as I mourn her passing, I wholeheartedly rejoice in God's promise that one day I'll see her again. How do I know this? Simply by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and believing in His Written Word. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that, where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3) These verses clearly address a believer's homecoming. A celebration of eternal life.
Still, death of a loved one is never easy. Life forever changes as we may find ourselves confronting a tomorrow without the intimacy of a spouse, the camaraderie of a friend, the tender love of a child or the closeness of a parent. We weep, finding ourselves in a whirlwind of fragile emotions. Our reservoir of memories overpowers as the stillness of night inflames our grieving. As we lie in the darkness pouring out our hearts to God, if we acknowledge that He is in total control, sleep comes?.peace comes; "a peace that passeth all understanding." (Philippians 4:7)
This blessed peace is securely rooted in God's constant presence. Knowing He was about to face the Cross, Jesus informed His disciples that He would send a Comforter. "?I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.'' (John 14:16-18, 26) This promise speaks of The Holy Spirit (third person of the Trinity) which dwells within every born again believer. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
But there is a time for mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:4), and now is my time. The desire to hear my mother's voice and see her face is ever present, provoking uncontrolled tears and sadness. But I have only to remember her failing body. Suddenly I rejoice in the knowledge that she no longer has trembling hands or legs that falter. No more ears dimmed to sound. No more eyes blurred by age. Mother is now free of pain (Philippians 3:21); forever rid of tears and sorrow. (Revelations 21:4) Although I miss her greatly, how can I NOT rejoice knowing that 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'? (II Corinthians 5: 8) Such peace.
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren (believers), concerning them which are asleep (physical death) that ye sorrow not, even as others (unbelievers) which have NO hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."? "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout?and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them? to meet the Lord in the air (Rapture); and? shall we ever be with the Lord?Comfort one another with these words." (I Thessalonians 4:13-17) What comfort to realize that because Jesus Christ willingly hung on the Cross, died for our sin debt and victoriously rose from the grave, each of can - through faith in Jesus Christ - have victory over death.
Death is inevitable, save for the Rapture. "?it is appointed unto man once to die?" (Hebrews 9:27). Mother's appointed time was Jan. 22, and she had victory. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (I Corinthians 15:55) She was prepared to be victorious. Are we?
"Jesus saith?I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." Jesus then asked the MOST crucial question of our lives: "Believeth thou this?" (John 11:25-26)
Mother believed! I believe! What a glorious reunion it will be!
Nancy Hamilton is an author of Christian books. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.