One afternoon, in late summer, my great aunt, Mabel asked my mother if she would mind if she wasn’t there for Thanksgiving. Mibsy, who was 95, loved Thanksgiving. It was her favorite holiday. My mother asked her why. “Would you mind if I spent it with Mama and Papa?”
What could my mother possibly say?
My mother and Mae were with her at the end. She was in her favorite pink jammies, and had told her exactly what she wanted to wear, her jewelry, and make-up. She even had my mother help her with make-up and lipstick. She was going home. As she closed her eyes, she started laughing. Suddenly she gasped, “Papa!” and was gone.
Aunt Mabel had suffered from ulcerated varicose veins most of her later adult life. My mother and Mae watched as her legs became perfect.
Nearly two years ago, the night before my father died, he wanted to pray. The last viable thing he ever said was “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” Twenty-four hours or so, later, he was gone. He died doing his favorite thing, napping.
On Wednesday, the 24th, my cousin Sarah Reidhead Armstrong was called home. The end was sudden and I think the entire family is still in shock. She was my oldest female cousin, and, to me, something of a legend when I was a kid. She was old enough to cause a gawky tween to be in awe of her. Later as we grew up, we were fortunate enough to get to know one another. She was a very impressive person.
Friday morning, I started thinking about life. I have this very bad habit of not crying, not really getting upset when someone I care about goes to be with the Lord – if they know the Lord. The great tragedy is those who don’t. I began crying when I realized that Sarah was there with my father, visiting with him. She was with her dad, and our grandparents. I get tears in my eyes, just thinking about it. I always think about my grandfather, Froehlich, who I miss, more and more each year. She gets to see Grandy.
Sarah also gets to hang with Christ!
Can you imagine? I am sad for her mother, and her siblings, her children, and husband. I’m sad for me. But, I’m not sad for her. She’s with Christ.
It started me thinking about Salvation.
I should have thought of this, years ago, but like the dullard I am, I didn’t. The lesson of John 3:16 is whoever believes in Christ will have eternal life. We are always going to live in Christ. This is one of the rewards of Salvation – being reunited with those we love.
I’ve spent the past five years or so being pissed with God. I remember lamenting that the Lord had better show me some great reason why Salvation is important – or else! Yea, I’ve been that pissed.
There is not great earthly reward. That wasn’t what belief in Christ, in the Lord is all about. It is about love and tomorrow. It is about spending eternity with Christ, with the Lord, in heaven. (I’m just not quite sure where heaven is. It is beyond my pay-grade to contemplate such things, but it really doesn’t matter. I now comprehend one of the great perks.) It is about being reunited with those who have gone before and believe in Christ.
That’s quite a reward.
It is such an amazing reward, it is worth not having things go our way or getting all those financial perks. It is more important than success, power, or fame. It is about what comes after – for eternity.
Faith is a strange thing. If we have the faith of a grain of mustard, we can move mountains. I’ve been learning a heck of a lot about that lately. It is about believing and knowing that the Lord answers prayer. I spent five years bitching about it, but I do, finally understand that the Lord does answer prayer, in His own good time, the way He wants it answered.
Does any of this help my aunt and cousins who are hurting? Probably not. I don’t think it would help me. But, then I’m basically shallow, superficial, and am almost bi-polar at times with my faith, lack of it, then having it again.
It makes me wonder why God puts up with us. It just shows he’s a heck of a lot better than we are. I suspect, were I in his place, I’d tell humanity to lump it. But – thank goodness I’m not God. He is. He loves us so much, he sent Christ to provide for our Salvation.
He has given us hope.