Another new year has dawned upon us. In the new year we think of hope and new things, and it is good to think this way. God has new blessings for us this year. Yet in this new year we will also face at least a certain amount of trials and sadness. That is a given living in this world here on earth. Yet for the Christian there can be joy even then, because we know the Lord walks beside us.
Eleven years ago on January 2, 2011 it was a Sunday morning. I had arisen early to take a shower, so I would be ready for church. I had quietly gone about my activities that morning, because I did not want to awaken my husband whom I thought was asleep. I also was aware that I needed to keep on task, because my son would soon come and help me get my disabled husband out of bed and ready for the day. A few minutes later my son and I discovered that my husband had passed into Eternity during the night. Wayne had been slowly becoming more and more disabled due to his neurological disease, and I had been his caregiver for four and a half years. Before his disease and even during his disease he was a humble loving servant of God and a wonderful husband, dad, and grandpa.
Then four years ago and a little later in January my present husband, Bob, experienced the death of his first sweet wife, Gloria. She too had slipped into Eternity. Bob also had been a caregiver for her for a few years.
And yes, elements of grief from this kind of loss always remains, although it greatly softens over time. This is true even in the midst of welcoming new relationships. Even a week ago when I was talking with my husband, Bob, about some of the things that I experienced caring for Wayne and when I was talking about some of the things I remembered about the last night Wayne was on the earth, I became weepy. It is an experience one never forgets. The secret of doing the grief experience well is to grow through those experiences and not to let them make one bitter.
Through it all in these heartaches and in the trials which have come since that time, I have grown in my love for my Lord. I have experienced the Lord's faithfulness in huge measures, and I have seen Him do amazing things in my life. I have discovered that He is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20)
Yet I have also discovered that life moves so quickly. We have seen two very tragic deaths of comparatively young people in our community in the recent past. This reminds us that life on this earth is fleeting. I also know someone from my church who just turned 103 years old! Yet even for her life is fleeting compared to Eternity.
Let's remember with sweet fondness those who have gone before us. Let's find joy in the work and relationships God has given us here on earth. Yet let us live our lives in light of Eternity! Our life as Christians on earth takes on significance and purpose, because we are part of something much bigger than the present. We are part of a glorious future in Eternity where we will experience total victory. Let's begin to walk that life of joy now on earth, as we are already prince and princesses in God's kingdom!