After my Grammy Rose’s wake and funeral, I’ve found myself intensely introspective. My heart’s been quiet, but my mind is in overdrive. In the midst of my mourning, something was revealed to me that I bet some of you already know. Some people are scared to death of death.
Like I imagine many other families reaching a loved one’s final chapters of life, we were told by more than one caregiver “the elderly” often are depressed and have suicidal thoughts. I’m sure some are. But I didn’t see that in my Grammy. She was wise, strong, confident and faithful. I think in this broken world, there’s a point where you’ve seen and/or felt enough pain that your fear of death dilutes as you grasp the magnitude of what a great trade heaven is going to be. May some have to become elderly to wrap their head around that. But I don’t personally consider it suicidal not being afraid to die. If you truly know Jesus, maybe you just want to get to Him as fast as you can.
My days begin talking with Jesus, they end talking with Jesus, all the day long whispering my dreams, fears and hurts, sharing giggles, plans and tears. I long for the day in His glorious presence when He audibly responds and loves on me in person. That seems logical to me. Never another tear? Our bodies restored to perfection? Being reunited to the home where we have been built to dwell, in the loving arms of our Friend, Savior, Healer, and Comforter for all of eternity? I’m just so confused about what they are afraid of. Call me crazy, but I seriously can’t wait.
But during Grammy’s funeral services, I saw people I grew up with and have known my whole life silently questioning our afterlife. Their swiss cheese faith broke my heart. After the standard expected and appreciated, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” I was told by a loved one as she traveled through the line, “It’s humbling to know that if we die in order, the generation that preceded us has already gone.” A deer in the headlights look erased whatever expression I was previously sportin’. Although I agree with her statement, I’m guessing that she and I understood “humbling” very differently. I’m humbled that I get to go to Heaven at all. It made me wonder if she is a believer, is religion more of a Sunday morning tradition than doctrine? Does she believe Heaven and Hell are more real than anything we’ve experienced? Unlike anything here, they are forever.
We Christians know this life isn’t it. I praise God for the blessed assurance of knowing Jesus’ blood covers us with the only valid crimson currency that calls us “home…home…home…” We know those that love Him will be with Him in Paradise for all of eternity, and it’s a ready or not sort of thing.
A popular Christian song by Building 429 says, “All I know is I’m not home yet. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus, this is not where I belong.”
And in Brad Paisley’s song “When I Get Where I’m Goin'” he says: “When I get where I’m goin’, there’ll be only happy tears. I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years.”
I know I’m not home yet, but I know where I’m goin’ and someday I want only happy tears. I pray I leave a gift of certainty to all those I love that I knew God handpicked me to be with Him forever and ever and I responded by living my life loving Jesus, joyfully. I am His hidden treasure and His pearl of great value (Matthew 13:44-45). He paid everything He had for me, joyfully. I am not afraid to meet Him. Not one teeny bit.
I want every Prehar I can lay claim to, to have a place where they feel God. I want them to “get it” – the only work that has eternal gratification is building His Kingdom one assignment at time. I want my grandchildren to know me as well, if not better than I knew mine, but I want them to intimately know Jesus. I want to impart the powerful takeaway that death is the best thing that’s going to happen to us in this life – and that’s not suicidal. That means you believe in the promise God made through sweet Jesus. That day I get called Home, I pray people will look at the legacy I played a part in, however big or small, and see Holy Christian faith (NOT holey Christian faith). I hope the only mourning will be about the funeral home’s bill. I hope my passing will be a solid celebration, where sorrow and rejoicing find themselves standing hand in hand in a white knuckle grip so tight you don’t know where one starts and the other ends.