My dear friend Liz has just passed away from this life of sin and pain and the Lord has been kind in weaning me off of her. Where just a week ago, I was clinging desperately to the hope that God would fully heal her on this earth, I have learned that it is a far far better thing to be healed in and through heaven.
Her work is done. Her reward is being realized. Her faith is being made sight. She is home, truly home, for the first time in her life.
To paraphrase a passage from Hebrews 11: Liz died in faith, not having fully received the things promised, her final salvation, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that she was a stranger and exile on this earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. For if Liz had been thinking of that land from which she had gone out, she would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, she desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called her God, for He has prepared for her a city.
And while I stand on this side Of the River Jordan, watching her go to Canaan's fair and happy land, my heart is sorrowful. First because there is a long separation on this side and second because I cannot travel there with her as she goes. Like Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress, we all must cross that final river alone. But not alone. For God Himself has gone before us into death and into resurrection to prepare a place for each of us who put our hope in Jesus.
And my heart is also joyful for those exact same reasons. Liz is seeing Jesus, no longer greeting Him from afar as an exile but running into His arms as a beloved child come home. Oh how can a heart be filled with such joy and such sorrow all at once? How can I want her here and there at the same time? How can I so selfishly desire her to stay with me when God calls her home? How long, oh Lord, before it is my turn?
"Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed. The victory is won; He is risen from the dead. And we will rise when He calls our names no more sorrow no more shame we will rise on eagles wings before our God fall on our knees and rise. We will rise." ~ Chris Tomlin
Oh Lord, give me the joy of Heaven and the knowledge that my sister is released and truly alive. Let my sorrow turn away and help me to endure until the day that you call me home. Amen