The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
This picture was taken with sunlight over lavender fields in the South of France as we were traveling to our new home.
Nothing is more comforting than when the last words of the dying sweetly whisper the assurance of life everlasting.
~ Marjorie Speiser
taken from a true story…
Lorna, a 43 year old woman, knew she was dying yet she had a little time left. She wrote a letter in the hospital, on her death-bed. It was all very moving as she explained the joys of her life, her last thoughts on subjects important to her. Soon her voice would be silent. They say that individuals go on living in the hearts of those left behind. She hoped this was true. She did not want to be forgotten. She knew memories fade over time but she also knew that eternity lives on in the heart of the hopeful. They would all embrace again in a new world where there would be no more tears. Her faith in God assured her of this fact.
How strange to be in this place, so close to death and yet so vibrant with life. She really didn’t think she would die but the inevitable was before her, every day, reminding her, not letting her alone. Her beloved body daily betrayed her and this hurt her more than any of the physical pain endured. Life seemed to be going on as usual for everyone else. But for me, it is a strange combination of emotion. Sadness, loss, dread, finality, excitement, release, light, hope, faith. What would be her experience in days to come? What would happen in that final moment?
At the funeral, her family put together a video of her life from beginning to end. No wonder everyone cried. The whole ceremony was unbearably difficult yet surreal and peaceful, as if one was standing in a holy place way above the crowd, a spiritual world rarely encountered. Lorna, in death, towered above her earthly family and friends, almost heralded as being heavenly even while on earth. And now she had passed through the pearly gates while the others still waited, wondered, and questioned.
Funerals bring a review of the start and finish of a life, the happy and sad times, the proud and sometimes weak moments. The beginning and the end of life is opened up like a finished book to be seen by an audience held captive within the grip of finality. In two or three hours of the funeral day, it seems a choice needs to be made. One can either to hold on with all might or release it all to the wind. Memories, pain, suffering. Are those the only two ways to go? How does one grieve properly? Would this emptiness end? Then comes the thoughts of the afterlife. A formidable subject. Some avoid the topic at all cost, denying it’s existence, others crave to know more. It is boldly declared, she is eternally at rest now. How can we be certain? Not just for her sake, but for ours! There are no experts on the subject here. No-one has ever seen someone rise to life from the dead! Or have they? It would be some kind of miracle to witness that!
There was a miracle witnessed the day Lorna entered her rest. Rose was watching the sunrise and thought to herself, this would be the perfect morning for Lorna to pass over as it is such a beautiful sunrise. It wasn’t a morbid thought, it was a comfort to think about Lorna slipping away into the warmth of the sun. The clouds were formed in a special way with the sun peaking through. The birds were singing as Rose prayed, Lord take Lorna into your presence this morning as it is such a peaceful, wonderful morning. And, that is exactly what happened. The same day, the same morning Rose had prayed. Rose said later. It was like her spirit connected with my spirit that Friday morning. And, then, at the funeral I found out that Lorna loved the sunrises and the sunsets. She focused throughout her life on those moments. I didn’t know that until the funeral. It was an amazing revelation and a supernatural gift of peace and assurance that Lorna would be alright. A mystifyingly wondrous miracle had occurred. Brilliant, living hope replaced the grey degradation of death. The light of God touched the human spirit and within the twinkling of an eye, the living could embrace death confidently, in peace, assured in spirit, and the dead was raised to eternal life. No more tears, no more sickness, no death, no more wondering. Just eternity with the Light of the World. A dawning of life before time, outside of time, on streets of gold, beyond creation’s garden, crosses, evil, suffering, existence as we know it. Eternity. It rests somewhere beyond anything humanity knows and above everything faith assures us of.
Prayer: Jesus, I know that I will have to face my own death or the death of people I love. Give me your assurance that you will never abandon or forsake us no matter what we face. Give us the assurance that death is like the sunrise, the dawn of eternal life beyond anything we could ever imagine.