Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Goodbye Forever?

Today I'm still a jumble of emotions and tears.

Yesterday, I attended a funeral for the father of one of my dearest friends. I'd only met him twice. Once at the funeral of his sister-in-law, and once at the wedding of his granddaughter. I'm sure he would never have remembered that if we had been introduced a third time.

But that doesn't matter much because I will never forget him.

For years, I prayed for this man. For his health. For his well-being. For his family. His health has been borderline for a long time and each time there was a scare, I would pray anew for healing. But my constant prayer was that my friend would have the assurance of  his father's salvation before God called him home. I knew there was uncertainty, and I knew it weighed heavy on my friend's heart.

The past few months have been a roller coaster ride. Major surgery. A dire prediction for recovery. An all out miracle as the man who wasn't supposed to make it through the next 5 minutes, made it to the next morning, the next day, the next week. After a short time in rehab, he was sent home. We praised God for all He had done.

Then not long ago, a new problem surfaced and the complications began to roll in wave upon wave. I'm sure the questions I asked of God  were being echoed by his loved ones. Why did God perform such a miracle of healing, only to have him back in dire straights?

A week or so ago, my friend sat by his father's bedside. He asked the hard questions. "Dad, do you know Christ as your Savior?" "Will you go to heaven when you die?" My friend opened his Bible and went through the steps to ensure his father understood. His dad responded that yes, he understood and Christ was his Savior. Other family members received similar assurances as they too broached the subject of eternity during those last days.

When I learned of those encounters I wept at the answer to prayer. It had been the desire of my heart for a long time that my friend would know with certainty he would see his father again.

God chose ultimate healing for this man. On August 6th, he was called home. The celebration of his life was filled with stories...some funny, some touching. But the most important stories were the ones where he affirmed his belief in the Savior and his assurance that he would spend eternity with Him.

So why am I still crying?

Not because I knew this man well, I didn't.

In part because I love my friend and when he hurts, my heart hurts for him.

In part because I know and care about many of his family members and I understand the difficulty of losing a loved one - even though we who know Christ don't grieve as the world does because of our assurance of heaven.

But in large part, my tears come because of my own family members and the uncertainty of their eternal future.

Funerals cause reflection. We think of our own mortality. We wonder when we might be in the same position of saying goodbye to a loved one who is older or is in poor health.

But even in that reflection, we don't necessarily consider the fact that this life is but a vapor and we are not given assurance of tomorrow or even the rest of today. Sadly, we can say goodbye to a healthy person or someone in the prime of life just as easily as our elders and the sick.

We may not be given the extra time to sit by a bedside and outline God's gift of salvation as my friend did for his father.Therefore, we need to live each moment to its fullest. We need to take each opportunity we're given to share John 10:10 which states Christ came for that very reason - so we might live life to the full because of John 3:16.

So share Christ when you can, but always pray. For those you love. For your neighbors. For your co-workers. For those who would do you harm. For those you've never met...or maybe, only met twice.

I don't ever want to know the pain of losing someone I cherish without the certainty that I will see them again, but with all the troubles in this life, it's often easy to pray for immediate needs and bypass the eternal one.

If days like yesterday remind me to pray for the salvation of my family and others, then the tears are welcome and not without purpose.