At first it was a little shocking to think that at 83, Evelyn was a contemporary of mine, even though she was 20 years my senior; in fact, her son “Bill,” Agnes’s grandson, is my age. But I was a late-in-life surprise for my mom, while Agnes was a young woman when she gave birth to Evelyn.
Pondering these relationships has me thinking about the sorrow Bill must now be going through, as he prepares for his mother's funeral – sorrow that will no doubt dog him all the days of his life on this earth.
And yet, I am also imagining the overwhelming joy that must be reigning in heaven, amongst the loved ones who are on hand to welcome Evelyn Home. Who will be there? Agnes and her husband? Evelyn's grandparents? Dear friends she accumulated as she journeyed through this life? Shepherds and teachers and acquaintances who’d been kind to her, and to whom she’d been kind in return? Even my own parents?
What unfathomable joy they must all be experiencing, even as I type!
This scenario assumes, of course, that the people involved are all born-again children of God, repentant in their earthly lives over what God has said is sin and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ to have paid for that sin on the cross – the essentials that fling open the door to eternal life for every human being.
But if this is indeed the case, is there perhaps a lesson for believers as long as we remain in this fallen world? Should we learn to focus not on our sorrow in the wake of a loved one's death, but instead to picture the joy with which they have been greeted in heaven?
And what a welcoming committee each one will have – a committee led by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2)!
It’s a "through the looking glass" lesson my mother learned some years before she went on ahead. And it’s one we'd all do well to embrace whole-heartedly.