"The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air . And we will be with the Lord forever." -1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Life, a precious gift from God. God himself knelt down in the dust and decided to create life in His image. He breathed life into man out of love for a world He created so He could share it with us. From there God designed a couple to create life. And from the first sign of pregnancy a new life begins and God helps each new life grow. Each baby born is another gift from God, another life He has big plans for. God cares for each of us and loves every one of us and from the beginning of our life God already had a plan designed. Each day we are here on earth is a gift from God and we have another chance to be a blessing to someone else.
But sin is also part of our lives and since the fall of man we have had to face a world of sickness, sorrow and death. It is never easy to see a loved one sick with any illness and even harder when you see that illness take over their life. And no matter how old they become, seeing someone you love lose their battle with life, breaks our hearts. Life is precious and having someone in your life that is a friend, a constant source of joy, even a thorn at times, become sick, is hard. You pray for a miracle yet ask the Lord's will be done and you hold onto each day you are blessed to have with them.
But when that last breath is taken and we know God has allowed our loved one to find peace we still find ourselves asking why. Why them Lord, why now, we weren't ready to lose them, why.
It has been said that as long as we live on this earth death will come to us all and the older I get the more I have lived to see it happen more and more. We can find comfort knowing our loved ones are not suffering anymore and the next face they see when they awake will be Jesus' but our hearts still break and the tears are still there. We understand yet we don't and only time can heal the wounds now.
This week my family has experienced the loss of three ladies in our lives. One, my great aunt who was 94, a church member of who we are close with the family, who was 86, and my 2nd cousin who was in her 60's. Each lady I knew differently and the closeness of each relationship varied. But one thing that each lady shared was their love for God. For both older ladies they left behind generations of family and their life was full. Both shared a love of God wherever they went and they left behind many memories of goodness and open hearts willing to help when needed and offer a smile or prayer to anyone who asked. Carol and Aunt Lois will be missed by so many and their legacy will live on. Our hearts hurt at the loss but they both lived full lives and God used them in many ways. The hardest loss we've had to go through this week in my cousin Ruthi. She too left footprints on hearts wherever she walked and graced so many with her welcoming smile and heart. She loved her family and taught them the love of God and to trust God no matter the outcome. She had won many health battles and we have praised God for every day she overcame another battle. But she couldn't fight any longer and God allowed her to find peace and we have been left asking "why" yet again.
Death is always hardest on those left behind but God has given us a wonderful hope to hold onto. He is coming back and He will raise the dead in Christ and we all will be reunited in Heaven free from illness, free from tears, free from the questions why. We who remain after a loved one dies must cling harder to God for comfort and strength. He too is hurting over the loss as we all are His children and He will give us the peace we need to move forward. The days will be hard for a time but with each passing day and year it will get easier, never completely better, but easier. Hold onto all the memories you have been given with your loved one, treasure the times, their smiles, their stories, and the love of God they showed. Remember life is a gift and each day you are blessed to wake up remember to praise God and thank Him. Use your days to be a blessing to others and share the love of God with everyone you come in contact with. Keep the legacy your loved one started, alive. Even when you are left asking why, trust in God's control and reasons for everything that happens.
O Lord, death seems to be surrounding us more and more each day. Friends and family are losing battles. Please bless what we have now and come ever so more quickly so we don't have to see death like this anymore. Wrap your arms around our friends and family as they have to now say goodbye to loved ones and give them the comfort they need right now.