Yesterday we traveled to see my great uncle Roy Rogers (yes, that is his real name and I can promise that He is even cooler than His famous name). I was anxious to see him because I know he is not doing well. He has been taken to hospice and is constantly on oxygen. I have dreaded this trip because I like to imagine him frying fish, drinking his 2 liter pepsi and waltzing around the room hugging everyone. When we arrived he had tears in his eyes as he hugged us. I swallowed my own emotions praying that I could hold myself together until we left. The room was filled with visitors. It turns out he has had over 100 visitors since he arrived last week to Hospice, including his mailman. When we arrived I was so sorrowful but as the time progressed this overwhelming peace and hope filled my soul. I am confident that this man will leave a legacy, a legacy not for his own name but for Jesus Christ. He loves the Lord and it is evident in how he has lived. He has said multiple times that his time on earth is limited and he is ready to go be with Jesus. Friends, I can't express the peace that filled the room. It was the same peace and hope I have experienced when his other siblings, in-laws and my grandparents have passed. Peace that only comes when you know that your eternity is sealed. Peace that knows death is but a moment here on earth and then the entrance into the real life, the life Christ has made possible for those that are His. It was like nothing I can ever explain. Yes, there was great mourning but there was so much hope, hope that this is not goodbye but see you soon. Hope that knows the veil is torn, the tomb is empty, death is defeated and has been swallowed up in victory. I am so thankful that "we do not mourn as those that have no hope."
As I looked at the pictures that spanned decades, pictures of my sweet grandmother and those that have passed on. Those I miss with an ache in my spirit, my heart felt so much gratitude at the time God gave me with them and the eternal impact God had through them. Their lives were lived for the glory of God. I rejoice because the day of his home going will be so much sweeter than his date of arrival here on earth. We will reflect once again as we have done before on what God did in a life sold out for His glory and Kingdom purpose. God will receive the honor and glory as He receives my Uncle Roy into His arms.
" A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth."
- Ecclesiastes 7:1
My parents shared with us the home going of my mawmaw's mother (my Uncle Roy and her other siblings mother). They shared that she was surrounded by her children and grandchildren. As she took her last breath they lifted their voices in a song of praise to God. They sang in worship as she was being welcomed into glory where there are no more tears, crying or pain. After they sang they prayed together. Oh what a home going that must have been and what a homecoming she must have had. Today I am mourning what is to come and those in Texas are mourning the horrific acts of a stranger who broke into gunfire as they sang praises to God. I imagine the home going of that sweet 14 year old girl as she walked into the arms of Jesus. I imagine that mother holding her baby as Christ held her in His nail scarred hands. I will never understand the magnitude of hate and evil but I know this, no matter the pain we do not mourn as those who have no hope. Our hope is in God, the anchor to our souls. I pray today that you have this peace and hope. The peace that knows Christ has taken your debt and nailed it to the cross. The hope that knows this life is but a vapor, lived only for His glory. My Uncle Roy knows this and he is ready to be with Jesus even if we are not ready. We mourn with hope and rejoice that his life was lived making the name of Christ great, not His own.
I pray my day of death will be filled with peace and hope. That it will be better than my day of birth because it was no longer I who lived but Christ who lived in me!