It was only 5 days after Christmas when Jackie Bunting went to meet her Lord and Savior face to face. Our great loss, her infinite gain! A few weeks before my mother-in-law passed away, I was bothered by thoughts of what she might be experiencing, what dark thoughts she might be taunted by. I became suddenly afraid of the experience of dying, both for her and myself. What if God didn't meet her in it all? What if he left her alone in her suffering and grief? I was forced to confront my own belief about what happens to the Christian when he/she dies.
Now, just a few weeks after she has passed away, I must tell of the peace of God that flooded all of our hearts and minds when she did slip into eternity. As soon as I heard Keith's voice on the phone telling me the news, my heart leapt to think, "Mom is with Jesus!" Since it was early, 3:30am, I just laid there for some time thinking of what she must be seeing and experiencing in those first minutes of eternity. There was no room for dark thoughts, only light-filled wonder as this solid peace filled my heart, the assurance of the living hope we have been promised in Christ. I KNEW Jackie was with God. And I wept at the thought that she went first, before all the rest of us, and would be there one day to meet us.
Now, as the days and weeks since her death pass, I continue to be more and more aware of how light and temporary this world is for the Christian. All earthly things have an end, Peter writes in his epistle. But there is no end of days with God. No end of joy. No end of peace. No end of wonder. Who can imagine such delight? It is too wonderful for words.
My "Mother-in-love" has been given the greatest healing of all...she is with her God. And so we grieve not as those who have no hope, but as those who know the living hope that is in Christ Jesus.