Saturday, January 25, 2014

2014-0124 - absent or present

Today was bittersweet.  A lovely woman, a member of our church family, lost the battle with cancer - and passed on victoriously to be with our Lord - the other day.  Today we attended her funeral; a memorial to the way she lived her life.  It was a lovely service.  Yes, we were saddened at the loss of our friend; but joyous in the fact that she is with Our Lord!

There were hundreds of people in attendance to show their love and support for her family.  We – as a congregation – sang some of her favorite hymns; some of her loved ones read a few of her favorite Bible passages; and one of her closest friends – who is also fighting cancer – played her guitar and sang a beautiful hymn.

She sang a hymn that speaks of the Christian hope.  As human beings, we tend to worry; so, it is reassuring that we, as born again believers, don’t have to worry about tomorrow.  There isn’t any fear about where we’ll go when we pass out of this world; we will move on to be with our Lord!  The Bible tells us that our confidence or our hope lies in the fact that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV) - We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

This lady exemplified Christian love and service.  She genuinely cared for others, even before herself, and her life serves as testimony of the love, mercy, and goodness of our Lord.  It was hard for us to watch as she struggled with cancer; but her testimony has never wavered!  She has been, and continues to be, a shining example of God’s love and concern for His children.

Even as she prepared to meet her Lord, she met with our pastor, and they planned her funeral.  She desired that her unsaved friends and family would have a chance to hear the gospel message and that they would have an opportunity to be saved.  She also wanted her saved friends and family to be reminded that God is in control, and now that she is gone, they must continue to carry the message of the God’s love, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the saving grace of being born again to others.

Yes the battle against cancer can be devastating, and sometimes we lose the battle; but, we have the victory because we have the assurance that we will see our beloved sister again when we pass on to be with Jesus.  This beautiful woman never asked for cancer, and she would have gladly seen a cure; but she knew no matter the outcome that God was, and is, in complete control of her life and the lives of her loved ones.  The hope we share with her is the hope of Jesus Christ, and the assurance that when we leave these bodies we will be with Him in heaven!

We may not know what will happen tomorrow; but we know who is in control of tomorrow!

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
Written by Ira Stanphill

I don't know about tomorrow
I just live for day to day
I don't borrow from the sunshine
For it's skies may turn to gray

I don't worry o'er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I'll walk beside Him
For He knows what lies ahead

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

Ev'ry step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb
Ev'ry burden's getting lighter
Ev'ry cloud is silver lined

There the sun is always shining
There no tear will dim the eye
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

Songwriter: STANPHILL, IRA
Published by Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

My prayer for today…  Dear Lord, Thank you for letting me meet this lovely lady.  Her testimony shines so much brighter because she shines for you today.  She stood tall for you, even through the trial of cancer, and the way she lived her life was an inspiration to so many.  Dear Lord, please comfort her friends and family, help them to love one another, and encourage them to carry Your gospel message to others.

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I hope this post was a blessing to you and that you found something to help you in your daily walk with Christ. Would you please take a moment and share something that makes your home run more smoothly and aids you in your Walk with Christ? MarySmiles ;-)