Another funeral, another hard goodbye.
I remember sitting in her Latin class in high school…for three years! Veni, Vidi, Vici…I still remember. Good ol’ Julius Caesar. She had a way of endearing people to her with her sharp mind, quick wit, and wisdom. What kept me endeared was her prayers.
She prayed for me from the time I surrendered my life to missions at the tender age of ten. That’s now over 40 years ago. We were reminded today how missions was the center focus of her life. She told the pastor that the purpose of our church was missions. She certainly played a part in keeping it so.
Now she’s gone.
Then a verse came to me this morning.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
My cloud just keeps getting bigger.
Tonight at prayer meeting, our pastor asked us to share a verse that God is perhaps speaking to us through for 2018. This was the only verse on my mind, so I read it. I found an interesting twist in the King James Version. The last sentence ends like this: “lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
I know we are to remember those saints from the Bible that were in the Hall of Faith of chapter 11 of Hebrews, but I cannot help but think of the saints of this century, who have influenced and enriched my Christian walk to the point that my heart aches at their departure. But the saint to whom I said goodbye today would tell me, just as my mother, father, husband and others would, “shake it off, dry the tears, don’t get entangled in your grief, but keep running the race…and do it with joy, just like Jesus.”
When I allow grief and the trials of this world to get me down, my mind starts playing tricks. It makes me feel wearied and faint, without a desire to go on.
So, what do I do? I remember the examples of those who are standing in the clouds and fix my eyes on Jesus, first and foremost. It is only then that I can press on with joy and purpose.
When I went back into work after the funeral, one of my colleagues, who also knew this sweet lady said to me, “Carol, I know today has been hard for you, but I want you to know one thing–you still have people praying for you. I’m praying for you.” She would never know how much that meant to me. Prayers of the saints have been my lifeline for all the days of my life. God used her words to give me great comfort. I realized today, that the baton has been passed, and I too must pick it up for others.
What kind of clouds are over your head today? Clouds of gloom and despair or … perhaps… clouds of witnesses.
I’ll choose my witnesses any day. What about you?
Grace and Peace