Boy, I have to admit that I’m tired. It’s been quite a time the last few months…. everyone is tired of wakes and funerals. Since August our community has lost 5 terrific men. Although some were older and their deaths were not completely unexpected, the loss is still impactful and even staggering. They were all holy and wonderful men and we feel their loss.
Death has such a finality. During the time of the wakes and funerals the intensity is so high that the deaths don’t seem as real, but after things calm down, you realize that they are gone. You still have their numbers on your phone… you have text messages and e-mails, and even voice mails…so you can hear their voices.
It’s at these points that you would like to talk to them about the latest problems in the country or the church or with the Giants. You want to hear their latest spiritual insight about all of these. They used to join you in a bit of “hand wringing” about some of the craziness going on.
But now, this is not on their radar screen. They are no longer worried about Covid19 or the economy or CRT or abortion or all the rest. Their time is done; they have gone home to God. They no longer have to fight temptations or health problems or worry about insurance or the weather or relationship conflicts…or anything else on their “to-do” list. They have entered eternal life, with no tears and sorrows and fears….. they have gone to heaven.
Yet our time to go home has not come. God still has things for us to do. We need to keep our eyes on the Lord and stand firm. The 12th chapter of Hebrews challenges us to keep fighting the good fight of faith.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, (like Bone and Julian, and Randy, and Paul, and Dick) let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…. consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. ….. therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.(Heb. 12:1-13)
Heaven is watching and God has plans for us. We can’t shrink back. It’s our time. So brothers and sisters, let’s help one another to stand firm. Let’s “lay aside the sin that clings so closely…let’s run with perseverance the race set before us… let’s lift our drooping hands, let’s not grow weary or fainthearted …..”
Now it’s our time to be strong. It’s our time to raise families and build community and help the weak and support the church. It’s our time to grow in holiness. Heaven is praying for us; our departed brothers and sisters are cheering us on. In the power of the Holy Spirit we can do it. We can serve the Lord. If God is for us, who can be against us. And may the joy of the Lord be our strength. And that is very good news.
P.S. And let’s not forget to pray for our departed friends.