In Loving Memory

For those of you that are readers of my blog, you know that I always write my own thoughts. For the rest of this post, I want to share someone else’s thoughts. Years ago, a dear sister in Christ passed away. She suffered more than any person I have ever known. She physically hurt so much that she wished for death on more than one occasion. And yet, she would rarely miss a worship service. (Even if it meant she had to be carried into the building). When she died I met with her family and we were going through her bible and this article fell out of it. It was as if she put it here for us to find. I do not know where she found it as she cut it out of some magazine. I only know the author and title…

 Why do Christians Grieve?

             When good fortune comes to a beloved Christian brother, we are happy for him. When an honor is bestowed upon a dear one, we do not grieve. To live and die a true Christian is an honor. To receive the reward of eternal life in heaven is something for which we all pray. When a Christian goes to receive his reward it should be a time of rejoicing. Yet, for those who are left behind, it is not a time of rejoicing, but a time of sorrow and grief.

Why do Christians grieve when another Christian dies? We know and are able to conceive to some small extent, that he is missing nothing of importance by being called from this earth. The joys of earth cannot be compared to the joys of heaven – a Christian’s reward. Still, when one passes on to receive that reward, we grieve. Why? This is truly a great mystery. We hope for, work for, pray for the joys of heaven and are unable to be happy when one of our number moves on to receive these same joys.

Why do we grieve? If we are brave enough to really analyze the question, we will be shocked to find that we do not grieve for the one who has passed on, but for ourselves. The human in us makes us so selfish that we cannot bear to lose anything or anyone we hold dear without feeling sorry for ourselves.

Think about the grief we feel. We do not feel sorrow because the dead loved one will never again eat a meal on earth, but because he will never again share a meal with us. We do not grieve because he will never laugh again on earth, but because we will never hear his laughter. We do not feel unhappiness because he will never again know the joy of loving and being loved, but because we will never again know the joy of being loved by him.

If we will overcome our selfishness and allow our thoughts to penetrate deeply enough, we will realize that he who has passed on will know laughter and love and happiness that surpass any he has ever known or could ever know on earth. If we will forget ourselves, we will realize that to grieve over the death of a faithful Christian is but human folly and selfishness. When we look at it in this light, we will cease our grieving and will be happy because good fortune and honor have come to someone we know and love.

By Lee Barnet.

Thursday night I learned that my Aunt Shirley Chumbley passed on from this world. Aunt Shirley was a special person in my heart. You see, her late husband, my Uncle “Tac” where two of my favorite people in the world. They had an apple orchard out on their farm that we visited quite regularly. I remember going out there and enjoying their company, fresh apple cider, homemade applesauce, etc. I remember their love, the joy in their hearts, and most importantly their faith. Aunt Shirley was one of three important bible class teachers I had in my childhood (both of my grandmothers were the other two). In fact, she may not have remember, and I regret now never telling her, but it was Aunt Shirley that put he “bug” in my heart about baptism. I recall one bible class years ago we were talking about the book of Acts and Paul’s conversion. She looked me squarely in the face and asked me if I believed in Christ. I said I did. She then said, “What are you waiting for.” I didn’t have an answer then. Here I sit, almost 25 years later and I still can’t find an answer. It wasn’t long after that, that I put on Christ in baptism and had my sins washed away (See Acts 22:16).

So, when I got the phone call Thursday night, my heart was immediately broken. I would never again get to know the joys of being loved by her. I would never again share in those delicious apples with her. I would never again hear her teach me some vital lesson. I would never again get to see that precious smile. But, I would never wish her away from her reward. She lived her whole life preparing for this moment. So Aunt Shirley, I say good-bye. Or better yet. I’ll see you soon in that sweet by and by.

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