Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise. – Luke 23:43
It was another Sunday morning. As my husband parked, I looked down at my phone to check the time.
Instead my eyes fixed on a text. My precious aunt’s heart had failed, and she had gone to be with Jesus during the night.
How was I to respond? What was I to do? To say “I’m sorry” wouldn’t begin to express my grief. I cried. My hands shook. My mind raced.
It raced back to two days earlier, when I had seen her for the last time – not as I will remember her but as she had become under the throes of sudden, serious sickness.
I spoke Scripture to her. I spoke words of peace and comfort. I prayed. I sang to her. I told her I loved her. And then I said goodbye without certainty of how final that goodbye would be. How thankful I was that I had made that long drive.
My mind came back to the moment. “Let me take you home,” my husband gently said as I continued to cry. But I was supposed to sing with the choir in just a few minutes.
And then there was the whole issue of my red, mascara-smeared face. I doubt anyone at church had ever seen me – the resilient, always-joyful one – cry. They would know someone had died just by looking at me.
But I would sing. I would sing as a testimony of my faith that my aunt, who talked often to me of having Jesus as her Savior and Lord. I would sing because her faith had been made sight. She was no longer suffering. She was perfect and whole. She was not lost; she was found. In Him. Forever.
Death waits for no one. It doesn’t wait for our convenience – the convenience of the dying or of the ones left behind. It comes when it comes, and when it comes, you’d better be ready. The dying thief was ready. My aunt was ready.
No, death will not wait. Nor should life. Live life to the fullest, doing all things as unto Christ, in whom we live, move and have our being. Create. Love. Enjoy. Celebrate. Touch. Hug. Speak. Do. Be.
Create moments. Love the people God has put in your life. Enjoy them, and enjoy the world He has given you. Celebrate your life and the people in it. Touch hearts and touch lives for Christ. Hug a hurting friend. Speak words of encouragement, kindness and life. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be the person God created you to be – His child redeemed by the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Then when death comes – and it will come – you will leave behind a wake of peace. Your loved ones will mourn you, yes. But they will know you lived and loved well, and they will be most certain of your forwarding address.
His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” – Matthew 25:21