She started out as our neighbor; the woman with the big blonde hair and bright blue eye shadow dwelling across the street. It wasn't long before my sister made herself known and developed a new best friend. The woman with all that hair, living across the street, was no longer just a neighbor. She was my sister's best friend's mom. As typically happens, the years flew by and my sister was married. She became one with an annoying neighborhood kid. Not just any neighborhood kid, the brother to her very best friend; son to the woman with the big blonde hair. And this woman morphed into someone so much more; more than just a neighbor or a good friend's mom, she was now my sister's mother-in-law. She was now Nana to my niece and nephew. Our families were bound to be connected, we were destined to share lives.
And yesterday I had the opportunity to glimpse a little more into the life of this woman. She lived a bountiful one with three kids and four grandkids. And then she passed away. A few shared their stories of her. Some laughed, some cried, some simply sat, listening. It was her own sister, and then her preciously aged mother that broke my heart. It's the thing siblings and parents never anticipate- attending the funeral of a sister. A daughter. Everyone who ever lived has or will die. But we never expect it to happen to the ones we love so dearly.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
And then that pastor shared from the Word. His crazy passion for Jesus and zeal for the scriptures saturated that room and filled every heart. He exhorted us with God's comfort, and compelled us to live for Jesus, "the only One worth living for."
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
"You know, this word comfort…" He began to proclaim. "It's not just any comfort. This is an uninterrupted kind of comfort."
And he shared with this family. He spoke directly to my sister, to my brother-in-law, to my niece and nephew, and then to everyone in that church. He exhorted us, and he reminded us. Isn't that what funerals often do? Don't they frequently turn back the clock? Reminding us of times back when, and of lives we've left behind? We are forced to take a few steps back and evaluate this world. Our world. What am I doing with myself? And where is Jesus in all of it?
"You remember your baptism?" He was all wound up over this long ago memory. "Remember how badly your back hurt? Remember the pain? Oh yeah, I remember. And I remember you saying this 'There's nothing that will keep me from getting baptized.'"
We all left that place feeling like there was hope. And I think Nancy, the one I remember from the age of seven, the one with the fancy blue eye shadow and memorable blonde curls, would have wanted it that way.
"Because Nancy loved Jesus!" He reminded anyone who dare forget. "And we WILL see her again!"
Do you love Jesus? Are you comforted by Him with an uninterrupted kind of comfort? When you leave this life, as we all must, will you wake to find yourself in His presence? Will your loved ones find hope and consolation on that day, knowing you will spend eternity with the Savior? Because "He's the only One worth living for."
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