“I KNOW WHERE SHE IS, BUT SHE’S NOT HERE”
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 12:8)
Many of you who read these devotionals are my age, or close to it. For the rest of you—learn! You’ll need it later.
At age 85, my friends and associates are checking out. The Bible says, “and he died.” We have other phrases to take the sting away; but whatever you call it, it’s painful.
We have a picture on our refrigerator of 6 guys last year having breakfast together. Two of them are gone. Moments ago, I got off a ZOOM meeting with college friends, three of whom have recently lost a spouse. One, a pastor and missionary made the following statement as we were telling the stories to others we hadn’t seen in decades. “I know where she is, but I know where she isn’t…here by my side.”
That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: we all know where they are…heaven…because they all trusted Christ.
Another friend had a long series of physical problems over the years, and recently slipped very quickly. The last several days they had hospice. One night around 1a.m., his wife got up to go to the bathroom, and bent over and kissed him on the forehead and said, “It’s OK, honey. You can go.” Fifteen minutes later he took his final breath.
Death, the final enemy. But there’s life, eternal life, on the other side because of the risen Christ. “Where, O death is your victory?” There’s victory in Jesus.
Are you ready? That is, in every sense. How about a will? How about funeral instructions or even a pre-paid funeral and burial plot? Or what about downsizing significantly and saving very little for the kids to throw away! (And please don’t hide things, like money in all sorts of weird places so that the kids have to go through every book, drawer, pair of socks, etc. so that they don’t throw away cash!) Is your house in order? (II Kings 20:1)
Please don’t be like the people who for some reason can’t face death, won’t talk about it under any circumstances, and have a house FULL of everything you can imagine, things of no possible interest to the rest of the family. Further, the family knows nothing about their thoughts for wills, the estate, etc.
“O that will be glory for me.” Put a little glory into it for others because they know you were prepared.
READING FOR BEYOND THE SUNSET
“Should you go first and I remain to walk the road alone
I’ll live in memories garden through happy days that we have known.
In spring I’ll watch for roses red when fades the lilac blue,
And in early fall when brown leaves fall, I’ll catch a glimpse of you.
Should you go first and I remain to finish with a scroll,
No lengthening shadows shall creep in to make this life seem droll.
We’ve known so much of happiness, we’ve had our cup of joy
But memory is one gift of God that death cannot destroy.
Should you go first and I remain for battles to be fought,
Each thing you’ve touched along the way will be a hallowed spot.
I’ll see your face, I’ll hear your voice though blindly I may grope,
A memory of your helping hand will buoy me on with hope.
And finally, should you go first and I remain, one thing I’d give you do:
Walk slowly down that long, long path, for soon I’ll follow you.
And I want to know each step you take that I may walk the same.
For someday down the road, that long, long path, you’ll hear me call your name.”
—Author unknown to me
Why don’t you sing “Beyond the Sunset” to yourself or with your spouse and kids? See how meaningful it is when you personalize it.
Written By Neil Fichthorn: Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.