His Loss, Her Gain
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" Psalm 116:15
A very close friend lost his Grandmother last night. She hadn't been well for some time, and her death was 'expected'. She was elderly; she'd been widowed some years back; and she was ill. I suppose all these factors in any person's death make the world outside - myself included - look on and say, 'Oh well, it's not a tragic death like others we hear about'.
In this lady's case, it wasn't tragic at all. In fact, her transition from this world to the next was, for her, glorious. She loved her Lord, and was looking forward to being with Him in a closer and more glorious sense than she was able to be whilst here on earth. Yesterday, I heard a man say of Enoch, who 'walked with God' (Genesis 5:24), that when he was taken, his location changed but his company did not. You see, Enoch 'walked with God' whilst here on earth. God was his Companion. His Friend. The Treasure of his soul. And so, being taken from this world, Enoch simply changed location - God was still his Companion, his Friend, and the Treasure of his soul. The great difference was that all these blessings were being enjoyed so much more fully.
And so it is with our friend's Grandmother. Her companion here in this world was her Lord. He was her Friend and the Treasure of her soul. And now, although her location has changed, her company has not. She is with her Saviour.
She has known for many years that to be with Christ is far better. Now, she can see this more fully than ever before. Who would grudge her what she is now experiencing.
But, whilst she enjoys all the wonder of being with Christ, which is far better, a beloved family mourns. A family have lost their mother; and our friend has lost his dear grandmother. The fact that our friend loves His Lord doesn't mean he doesn't grieve for the grandmother he loved and has now lost. Grieving for a loved one is not the same as complaining at God's providence.
Not at all. God made us to love, and to mourn when we lose those whom we love. Our prayers today are filled with praise for this woman's life; praise for the fact that she was able to profess her Saviour's name for many years; praise for the fact that this same Saviour who saved her, has saved me and many others I know and love. But my prayers are also that God would continue to uphold our friend. That He would bless him in his soul with such an outpouring of His blessing that his mourning would be turned to rejoicing. That He would be his strength and his companion in the days, weeks and months that lie ahead. Our friend spent time with his grandmother every single day - for that, he will be glad as long as he lives. But for now, there will be many, many times where he will miss her so much that the will ache with the pain.
The lady who passed away had a wonderful death, if there can be such a thing. She died in her own home, surrounded by her family, a family who had cared for her and nursed her through the past months, weeks, and days. What a blessing to be able to care for your parents in this way. Their care of their mother mirrored, I am sure, what our Lord desired when He said, 'Honour thy father and thy mother'. They honoured and loved her until the end. And now they have precious memories which will sustain them many times in the years ahead.
The relationship between a person and a grandparent can be so unspeakably precious. I was only nine years old when I lost my grandfather and I still have times when I ache with how much I miss him. Our dear friend had many more years with his grandmother than I had with my grandfather. He will be able to treasure so many memories, recall so much advice, remember so many conversations.
Every single one of these will be precious. But more precious than any of them - to the lady who has passed away, and to our friend who mourns - is Christ Jesus, who saved them both.
In John 17, we read that our Lord prayed, "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am that they may behold my glory."
Yesterday, this prayer of Christ's was answered for this one of His people.