Once again I attended the funeral of a friend….
There have been too many funerals over the last few years, where friends and family have been taken too early from this life. Every time I attend a funeral I listen to the eulogy looking for the pearls of a life well lived, sold out for Jesus, reckless abandon for furthering the kingdom… Too often I hear a lot about accomplishments that are more self serving than they are for the Lord.
This one was different. My friend fought cancer for 7 years, she did so in a raw, real fashion, unashamed to show her weakness. Sometimes her anger at the Lord was visible, but so was her unwavering faith that He had everything covered! She refused to wear a wig to hide her struggle, unashamed of her bald head she forged a solace and strength that can only come from a close walk with the Lord. She put “Jesus Juice” stickers on her chemo bags and ministered to others during her treatments. She never missed any of her kids games, cheering with the loudest whistle in the crowd. Some kids would have been embarrassed by their mom’s unabashed enthusiasm, but hers always knew it was a blessing to have their mom there…. She kept up with a hectic volunteer schedule at church and even went on a mission trip during her fight. She understood that everyday God gives us is a gift and meant to live to the fullest…
One of my favorite stories shared was of her two best friends, after hearing how angry she was that the cancer was back with a vengeance, she had said how she just wanted to break something. The two friends went to the dollar store where they bought 30 plates, called her up and said, “Just be ready, we are on our way to pick you up…” They brought her to the church parking lot where they relished in her breaking all 30 plates with the anger, tears and laughs that needed to be released! That is what friends are for, no condemnation, just love and support with a much needed outlet for that anger. And, of course they all worked together to clean up the mess. LOVE THAT!
This funeral was a true celebration of her life, a life, though too short, was well lived and walked out with the Lord. There is celebration in death for those who know Christ! As difficult as it is for those left behind, the minister reminded us that we would not want to bring her back if we could see her in her new redeemed body, free from pain and cancer free dancing in the streets of gold! Instead, we should desire to know Christ as our Lord and Savior so that we too can have eternal life!
Savor the days we have this side of heaven, live them on purpose for Jesus, authentic, unashamed, sold out for Him.
Jesus is the only power and way over death to an eternal heaven. He alone has power over life and death. There is celebration in death for those who know Christ.
” Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the Lord’s word we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first after that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18