Last night a friend of mine passed away after a long battle with cancer. It's always hard to know what to say at times like this. For all of us left behind there's always questions of why, and oftentimes no answers. I'm glad to know he's finally whole and gets to bask in the glory of God forever, completely uninhibited by mortal flesh. I'm a bit jealous, too. Not that I so dislike life on earth, but oh to be free from this body and its limitations, to see the most glorious thing--far beyond anything I can begin to comprehend.
When I was younger I often marveled at the apostle Paul's words when he described the battle within between wanting to depart and be with God or to stay on earth and minister to people. I understood the sentiment but it was something my mind couldn't grasp. The thought of dying was scary, as the unknown generally is. I think now I understand. Earth is beautiful like crazy. I love people and I love the smells of spring and the warm sunshine and the gentle snow or a mighty storm. Yet for all Earth's incredible beauty, it is marred with the curse of sin and the pain it brings. Selfishness and pride hang over it like an ugly black stain right in the most obvious place of an otherwise stunning painting.
Heaven, on the other hand, is filled with the glory of God! That may seem a bit of a trite catch-phrase on the surface. But when I think of it... The wonderful feeling of knowing God here on earth-- to the ten-billionth power, and so much more than we can imagine! I daresay we won't even think of silly little things like a sweet summer breeze or the fiery leaves of autumn when all around is awesomeness to end all awesomeness. We'll never tire of singing, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!" What a choir that will be! We will finally be where we were meant to be: in the presence of our Maker, Redeemer, Sustainer, Fortress, Strength... there are not enough words to describe it!
So yes, there are a lot of lives Greg touched that will be missing him and I know how hard it is on his family and closest loved-ones. But I can't help but think of him in that glorious place with all the saints that have gone before, and I smile through tears of joy when I think of the moment he finally got to hear those words, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into my joy."
Congrats, Greg, on a life well-lived and a victorious crossing of the finish line!
And whenever you think of it, friend, do pray God's special blessing and comfort over the Wallace and Hemmer families and all the lives Greg touched.