Tomorrow I will share Thanksgiving with my children and grandchildren. Of course, Gail will not be there in body, but I am so thankful that Gail's essence was not a frail human body. Her spirit and soul are alive and well and she will enjoy the best Thanksgiving ever. Though this experience continues to be the most difficult of my life, I have chosen and "re-chosen," many times to follow what Gail and I believed and have followed for many years. If we actually believe the teachings of Jesus, then passing from this life into the next is ALWAYS better. Not just in whatever way we consider "normal," ways we die, not just when we reach some mystical age that says "it's okay to die," not when death somehow becomes the best course - no, ALWAYS. The pain of losing my precious wife, must, and will, become overshadowed by the fact of her resurrection from the dead. I will cherish her memory, knowing that our relationship provided me with a glimpse of what she is now fully experiencing.
Why would anyone selfishly want to bring her back from the greatest life anyone could ever experience. (Pick any certain hour and I would selfishly ask for her presence with me again), but selfish would be the correct term. If I have loved her with such love, then I must rejoice in her victory. Some may still angrily ask, "Why wasn't she healed. Where was God's power and glory?" For Pete's sake, she has been healed and what power is greater than to raise someone from the dead to eternal bliss! I think Lazarus got the short end of the stick when Jesus brought him back, for he would have to live this difficult life on earth all over again and then pass from this life into the next a second time.
How shallow we humans become when we are willing to twist and turn His Word into childish formulas that would actually lessen the lives of the very ones we claim to love so dearly; that somehow His "will" is always sunshine and roses and that His greatest desire is to keep us here on earth with all its shame and misery. Life is better in heaven - period. Why would I want my wife's life not to be better? (As I said, there have been many times I've begged to keep her here. But in one respect, this belies the very faith in heaven I so ardently proclaim). We, humans, are caught in a very difficult conundrum. We live in a wonderful world and we experience deep loving relationships, while at the same time, we suffer in anguish as the result of our mismanagement of this gift we've been given. It's called sin and it has seriously screwed up paradise. The gift is called grace, and even a tiny taste of it makes us long for more. We receive glimpses of paradise through our relationships of love. So, we cling to those glimpses of perfect love, fearing what is not yet fully known, residence with God Himself in heaven. Wow, this is scary stuff - dealing with the death of a Christian. These are morsels upon which I've been chewing, just thought I'd pass it along. I'm not offering pat answers, I've been served many of those in the past two years and they leave me more empty than before I sat at their table.
In any case, I've found much for which to be Thankful tomorrow, so here you go.
Thank You Lord for healing my wife. Thank You for letting me enjoy our many years together . Thank You for helping us create a wonderful family with whom I will share a special day tomorrow. Thank You for allowing me to carry on her legacy until I too am healed of frail humanity. Thank You for allowing me to inch towards a maturity that is not based upon my desires, but rather, like the One I claim to follow, "not my will, but Your will be done." Thank you for the thousands of people who have lifted me in love and those who have gone before me to bring me to where I am in You. Thank You for allowing me to shepherd a handful of Your precious flock for most of my life. Thank You for allowing me to represent You in my community and the world. Thank You that even though I often stumble and fall, even though my faith and trust grow faint, You never abandon me. You meet me wherever I am, and lift me up once again, and continue to use me for Your Glory.
My prayer for all of you is that you find much to be Thankful for tomorrow. I can assure it is there to be found. May you enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving. #blessed