It is impossible to be a member of our church and not be aware that our congregation has been hit by the loss of loved ones quite a bit as of late. The Saturday of our Taste of South Lakeshore several of us tried to get to the hospital in time to say goodbye to Doug Shipman. I arrived thirty minutes too late. However, I had an interest-ing experience as I was rushing down the hallway to get to Doug’s room. At Good Sam hospital in Puyallup, in order to get to the pavilion Doug’s room was located, you have to go down a hall and at the juncture where one turns right to head to the appropriate elevators, if you turn left you will go to the New Arrivals Maternity Ward. As I was heading down that hallway, there was a couple in front of me with a balloon that read “It’s a Boy!”. I could-n’t help but think how interesting it was that they were heading to celebrate a new arrival into this world and I was trying to get to say goodbye to someone who would soon celebrate leaving this world and entering his forever ce-lestial home. Although there was a mixture of emotions churning inside of me, my mind was on who it was that was graduating to be with Christ.. It was a brother in Christ who always spoke with joy about the day all believers get to be with Jesus and I thought, “I, along with others, feel sadness but I am sure Doug is ecstatic with anticipa-tion!” Paul wrote: When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1Cor 15:54 & 55, ESV) Such a text reminds us that although we hurt at not being able to see a loved one face to face for a time, a time is coming when we will be able to do so without death looming on the horizon.
This summer is one in which I have had to grapple with the realization that there were godly men and women I would not see for a time and such thoughts easily bring tears. However, I can hear Doug quoting Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”. In thinking of the smile that often accompanied that quotation, I can hear God saying “I’ve got them, there is no need for tears.” God tells us that a time is coming when, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV) For all our loved ones who have moved on this summer, that time is now.
Thanks for letting me share, have a blessed August.