by Marsha Loftis
This Week's Verse: Psalm 18:2, "The Lord is my rock, my protection, my Savior. My God is my rock. I can run to Him for safety. He is my shield, my saving strength, my defender." (NCV)
I recently attended funeral services for a wonderful man. A man that will be missed terribly by his family and friends. I know, because although we were not that close, his life made an impact on my daughter, and about a thousand other people. I sat in the service, listening to the pastor speak of what a great man he was, a good husband and dad, and an exemplary grandfather. He promised that this was not "Goodbye," just "See ya later." He reassured the family, each one by name, that they would see their loved one again.
This was all overwhelming for me. There were so many people! So, much loss, loss of years and events and time and many, many tears shed. At one time or another, I tend to wonder if I am truly a Christian. This was one of those times, albeit a bad time, but there I was... thinking. I always think I could do more, know more, pray more, live more, be more thankful, more patient, more obedient, listen more... MORE, MORE, MORE! I was clearly only present in body, not in mind. Then I heard the pastor say, "...'cause there's Someone on the other side standing there, with outstretched arms, saying, 'Welcome home'."
There, sitting between the two most important people in my earthly life, I felt the tears begin to tumble. I wept. Oh, I was sad, I was feeling loss, thinking about what a great man he was, and thinking about what a horrible person I can be, but more than anything I cried because I was jealous! He got to go home and I didn't! He's being welcomed into Jesus' arms right now and I'm not! He's not feeing anymore pain and I still have to face.... tomorrow!
Now this was not me; this was not rational, not 'normal' for me at all! I'm scared of dying! I don't want to leave this place, this life, this child, my mom...! I'm not done here! There's too much left for me to do, to say, to teach, to fix, to create, to love... I'M NOT READY. But there I was, sitting between my precious daughter, and my beloved mother thinking, I wanna go home! Oh, I've heard it before, "This place is not your home, it's only temporary." But my earthly ties are strong... or should I say, were strong. I think this is the first time in my life I've felt like a "true Christian." Or a term I like a little better, "Christ follower." I know Jesus. I believe that He died for me. I believing He's coming back. But, NOW, I'm actually looking forward to it!
Although we were not close here on earth, I will see Big Bill again, for we are truly brother and sister in Christ. I get to tell him that he not only made an impact on others with his life, he did in his death as well. Had I not been at his funeral, I would probably still be living for the dot and not the line.
Father God, help me to not have a jealous heart for I know that You are with me. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will continue to guide me through this earthly life and will set my heart on course so that I may live for the eternal and not the temporal. Help me to know and to teach and to live as though this is not my home. I can't wait to see Your outstretched arms! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
I know it's hard to think of leaving loved ones behind, even harder to let them go. If there's anyone that you aren't sure that you will see on the other side, start praying now, if you haven’t already. That's what I'm going to do! Pray for courage to approach them, and hearts that will receive the most important thing you can ever pass on. More than morals, and a good work ethic, more than being kind and appreciative. THIS is your legacy. If you are the legacy, pray that those who are lost will somehow find their way home!
2 Samuel 14:14, "All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him." (NLT)
1 Thes. 4:13, "First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word...Archangel thunder! God's trumpet blast! He'll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise... Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master... then there will be a huge family reunion." (MSG)
1 Thes. 5:4 & 9, “But friends, you're not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard in any of this? You're sons of Light and daughters of Day… He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we're awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we're alive with Him!" (MSG)
Psalm 18:30, "As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him." (AMP)