It’s been about a month now. My mother-in-law fought a grueling battle with cancer; all the way to her last breath. She left this life with faith, hope and love- especially love. It was a difficult thing to say goodbye. I had the chance to see her just a few days before she passed from this life to eternal life. Although her body was ailing, her heart was strong, her sense of humor intact and her eyes bright. Mom (really more of a mom than I can imagine) didn’t really want to go yet. Who does? She wanted to see her grandchildren grow up and be involved in the earthly experiences that are a real blessing of God. But it was her time and not one of us doubted that.
There is something much different about grieving the death of one who has such a strong relationship with the Lord. God says that the death of those who are faithful is precious to Him (Psalm 116:15). Unfortunately, this is not the common way of thinking in the church today. We look at death as a second rate alternative to living here on earth. We forget that we are just “strangers passing through”. We have lost sight of eternity and play to the temporary nature. Some segments of the church preach that unless we get all 85 years that we’re missing out on God’s best for us. What’s up with that? So we go to heaven earlier than others- that sounds like more of a blessing than a slight.
So our grief, although real and painful, is also hopeful. Our family has cried and worshiped at the same time; we’ve prayed with tears and with smiles. Truly, the intercession of others who love us has kept us strong during this time.
The hardest thing about saying goodbye to someone you love so much, is that we have this gap of time that we know we won’t see them for. The pain of death is really a great evidence that there must be more than this. We hurt because this is not the way God intended it originally. And that’s why He made a way to pass from here to there.
If you’re reading this and you’ve lost a loved one who knew Christ- take heart, be encouraged, and rejoice. It’s not over! It’s only just begun really. Of course, make sure that you’ve made the arrangements to join them one day by receiving the love of God through the death of his Son. Jesus conquered death for us through His death and resurrection. He has gone on to prepare a place for all of those who love Him and long for His appearing.
So, for now, we say goodbye- or as I like to say it, “see you later, mom!”