Despite their early deaths, they both left behind a testimony of love, service and devotion, not only to each other, but first and foremost to Jesus. I nearly wept when I looked at the cover of the memorial leaflet. I saw a picture of them as a young and happy couple, with the words “Together Again” below. They are together again, but greater still, they are together in the presence of Almighty God and in the presence of His Son, Jesus Christ. Chemotherapy isn’t there. Radiation isn’t there. Injections aren’t there. Pain isn’t there.
Now, I grant you, neither are their children and grandchildren, siblings, and many of their other loved ones. But you know what? They will be. By the testimony lived by this godly couple, all of those people will one day join them in that joyous and holy presence of the Savior. When all is said and done, that is all that matters. Our careers, houses, and possessions won’t matter. Even precious photos and special memories won’t matter. All that will matter is that we are standing before the throne of God and those that we love will be there with us.
How do I know? Ten years ago this month, I sat in another service. Before that service, during a private family viewing, I sat in the front pew beside my father as the casket of my mother lay in front of us. I remember asking my dad, “How do people do it? How do people do it who have no hope?” Taken suddenly and at a young age, my mother’s death the day after Christmas came as a shock to our family. I learned during that time that anyone of us can be taken by death at any time. Will those you leave behind have the hope of seeing you again in heaven? Have you made that decision to follow Christ as your Lord and Savior? Have you been a witness to your loved ones of that lifestyle so that they will someday join you?
“If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in darkness,...
where then is my hope?
Who can see any hope for me?”
(Job 17:13,15 NIV)
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
(Titus 3:4-7 NIV)