Two beautiful ladies took flight from their earthly homes this week. One was the mother of a dear friend, Brian. Brian has struggled with the effects of treatment ever since being diagnosed with cancer at age twenty-six. He’s now exceeded all records for surviving his type of treatments! Brian’s mother, Arlene, feeling compassion for young victims of cancer, began crocheting and sewing hats for patients of all ages, and over the years supplied more than 10,000 hats to help counter chemo challenges for cancer patients throughout southwest Michigan. Arlene died at a “ripe old age,” full of faith and good works, and is home in heaven with her Lord! The other lady is a generation younger—younger than I am— and hardly seems “old enough” to die! She was vivacious and full of life until very recently, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Last month, when I took dinner over to her and her husband, she was wearing a hat just like the kind Arlene used to make, but otherwise she still appeared and acted completely normal. Today, just a few weeks later, she is gone. Shocking and sad. Two ladies. Two generations. Two very different circumstances, and yet they shared a lot in common. Both lived and died well. Both left grieving loved ones behind. Both had learned the secret of peace in passing from this life to the next: They were looking unto Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith.
Are you looking ahead and noticing that death is the inevitable end of life on this earth? Whether or not you have a terminal illness at this point, if you—like me—are over sixty, it’s probably occurred to you that none of us are going to live in our present bodies forever. After all, as we grow older, who would even want to continue inhabiting these increasingly fragile and limited frames forever? Or, what about religions that teach an endless cycle of reincarnation? Groundhog Day or not, I am thankful God “numbers our days,” promising a discreet (though unknown) amount of time on earth before we are transported to be with Him, either as our Savior or as our Judge.
If you’re resting in Jesus as your Savior, then praise God! If you are unsure what will happen after you die or feel unprepared to face God, then may I invite you to look to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation? God alone can fill that black hole in our hearts with light. He alone can give us peace and assurance. Only His Holy Spirit can cause us to be born again into eternal life within the kingdom of God. Will you look to Jesus?
(—Helen Howarth Lemmel, 1863-1961)
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu’rors we are!
His word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!