This week, in our church community, a lady passed away. Her daughter is Director of our Children’s Ministry so some people know the lady herself, others know her daughter. I didn’t know this lady, Debbie. I have only been involved in praying for her.
She was diagnosed last summer with ALS, yes, the ice water challenge disease. The ugly, horrible disease that takes away the strength of a person but keeps their mind alert. That one.
Her disease process went extremely fast! Some church members were getting ready to demolish the bathroom to make it more handicap friendly the day before she died. They were delayed in their plans providentially.
In the last year, I have heard of the mother of a blogging friend who died of ALS and many years ago the husband of a friend died after years of struggle with the disease. I don’t know if the disease is now easier to diagnose or if it truly is more prevalent, but I keep hearing of it more often.
But that isn’t the emphasis of today’s post! Not at all.
Off with the old, on with the new!
I came across this familiar passage in the New Living Translation. I have been checking Scriptures in that translation more often lately and find it sometimes gets to the point a little more simply and succinctly.
The whole passage is wonderful but I couldn’t include it in the picture.
Don’t you love the image of taking off these weary, broken, earthly clothes and putting on those clothes that are healthy, will never ache, will never be sick or have pain?
For those who die after long illnesses, heaven is such a comfort! Yes, we are sad that they are no longer with us. We will continue to be for a very long time! But we also don’t want to see them have to suffer as they were suffering. Whether the suffering was more mental, emotional or physical, it is no less easy to watch.
I think of Kara Tippetts who is dying. She is chronicling her journey in ways that take my breath away as a community of faith surrounds her and her family in support and encouragement. Their trust in GOD at this time encourages me to trust Him in the smaller, everyday areas where I need to trust Him.
But I think of the day when Kara, now Debbie and many others discard this earthly body, leaving it behind for all of us to care for. As they delight in Jesus’ actual presence, talk to Peter, Paul, Moses and others in person…and go skinny-dipping in one of the nearby crystal clear lakes!
All of it! It will be beautiful, delightful and glorious! And not a one of us will be there because of how special we were. No one will be sitting there in eternity bragging about all their good works that got them there.
We will ALL be bowing before Jesus, delighting in Him and how He made it possible for us to be there!
So that’s why I did the visual I did. Think of your loved one who has gone ahead being able to skinny dip in the crystal seas there…no shame, no danger, no physical limitations…just pure joy and delight in a new, complete body in a place where Jesus provides the light, where there isn’t a speck of darkness, not even a shadow! Where there isn’t even a moment of sadness or regret!
And if that visual is just too embarassing, think of an activity they loved to do but couldn’t because of physical or coordination limitations. Imagine them doing it! After I go skinny dipping (which I never would have done on earth for fear of getting caught) I will dance! I was always too uncoordinated to do it decently. In heaven, I’ll be able to dance brilliantly for Jesus! How awesome!