Can you rejoice in times of sadness, sorrow, illness, and financial loss? Yes, you can if you trust in the God of the impossible. God hasn’t promised us a bed of roses or sunshine without rain. God never promised us that hearts wouldn’t be broken, that children wouldn’t rebel, that fathers wouldn’t leave, marriages wouldn’t end or success wouldn’t turn to failure. God only promised to be there no matter what. God promised that He would never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5&6).
Last Friday I found out that my best friend’s brother had passed away. We knew this was coming because he had been sick for some time and hospice was called in right before Easter. But did that make it any easier to say good-bye? No. What made it easier was the peace of God and knowing that Hugh was now in the presence of our Lord.
I immediately went to my friend’s side when I heard of her loss. I spent much time with her family before finally meeting up with her. Debbie asked me if I would stay the weekend with her and the family to help get her through all the coming events and I was more than willing to be there.
Our Memorial Day weekend wasn’t what we thought it was going to be but it was more than we expected. Hugh passed away on my Daddy’s birthday so I will remember that each year and he was buried on “Cousin” Lee’s birthday so we will remember that too.
My role this weekend was to comfort the grieving. How did I do that? Well, I was there for Debbie as much as I could be. I allowed her to cry on my shoulder as we reminisced about the many beautiful memories she had of her brother. I sat up with her every evening as we contemplated what the next day would behold for her and the family. I took pictures, shared stories, entertained children and reminded them all that Hugh was where we all wanted to be.
When we get a glimpse of Heaven we long to go there. Would you dare ask the Lord to send that special person back when you know how beautiful Heaven must be? I would not.
I love knowing that Hugh is now in a more peaceful place. He is no longer suffering because the Lord has made him whole. He is no longer in pain because the Lord has given him a glorified body that can walk the streets of gold, sit beside the crystal waters and envision of a picture of loveliness. Yes, Hugh is now living a reality that our mind can only dream of. And he is beholding the face of our Savior and all things have become new to him.
Don’t be angry with God when He calls another loved one home. He loans His precious children to those on Earth and has a plan for each and every one of them. Someday you will take that final journey and you will cross over Jordan. You shall be reunited with all your friends and loved ones and you shall behold the face of God and you will look into His nail-scarred hands as He welcomes you with open arms. And in that final embrace you shall hear him say, “Welcome home my child. The journey was long and sometimes weary. You can now lay down your sword and shield and you can rest in me for all eternity.”
When you are sad and lonely and the tears begin to fall just remember that Jesus does care. Tears are a language God understands. He can comfort you in a way that no mortal man can. Take it to the Lord in prayer and know that He is working things out for the best for you.
Remember the words from the Crabb Family in I Sure Miss You.
If life could only bring again, the days I took for granted when
To hear your voice was just a call away
Oh what I'd give for just some time, to say the things that slipped my mind
There's so much now I'd really like to say
But I can never go back when we did the things we did back then
I'll store those precious memories in my mind
I'll take what you've instilled in me;
I'll try to be all I can be
And walk the path that you have left behind
I sure miss you; my life will never be the same with you not here
Each passing day has brought much pain
But with God's grace my strength remains
I sure miss you, but heaven's sweeter with you there
The little things that seemed so small, like gold in a memory vault
I cherish every one I have of you
Now I can see and recognize the part you played to shape my life
I often see you in the things I do
In God's design and master plan He saw the hurting hearts of man
As we would say goodbye to those so dear
So with our family and friends we'll be together once again
We'll view all Heaven's splendor hand in hand
In preparation for the funeral the family was asked to write down some memories of their son and brother. While I was speaking with Debbie we began to reminisce about one really fond memory I had of her brother. I'm guessing that no one ever knew this story except for Debbie.
Her parents were going on a vacation and asked her to pick the vegetables from the garden. She invited me to spend the week with her to help her out. I didn't hesitate to say yes because she is my best friend and that just meant another opportunity for me to visit with her. Well, one day we were in the garden and Hugh came down to help. We began working in the field and at some point I realized that Debbie wanted to have a private talk with her brother so I wandered off on my own little adventure. It's a big deal for a city girl to be in the country so I was exploring every plant, bug, etc.
Well, it was then I noticed it. A blade of grass was moving about but it wasn't the wind blowing it. There were two grasshoppers on top of each other! Yes, they were making out and I'm not sure why but this really got the best of me. I pulled the grass out of the ground and these grasshoppers just kept doing the deed. I took it to Debbie and Hugh and they both burst out laughing when they realized "why" I was showing them these two grasshoppers. Hugh was beside himself in tears and wanted me to keep the grasshoppers. So he went into Papa's storage building and got me an empty mason jar. We put the grasshoppers with some extra grass into the jar and Hugh sealed it and poked holes in the lid. We resumed working in the field and every once in a while we would go back to the jar to check on the grasshoppers. They were still going at it and I'll never forget Hugh saying, "They are either having fun or they are stuck!" We laughed until we were crying.
The other night Debbie and I were reminiscing and we both remembered that day. To anyone else it may not have been that significant but to us it became a precious memory.
Thank you to all my friends and loved ones who prayed for Debbie and her family. I know there will be many more difficult days ahead but they will not be alone. God will be with them every step of the way and after the rain the sunshine will peak thru the clouds and we will know there are brighter days ahead. God is and has always been in control!