Consider yourself blessed if you have that one friend who is able to touch your soul so deeply that just the thought of them being in pain overwhelms you. When the unthinkable happens, and you have to stand by and watch their heart breaking, you want nothing more than to take that pain away. As the days pass though, something miraculous happens. Instead of taking anything away from them, they instead give to us; gifts so precious we can only marvel at the miracle, for the gifts bestowed come straight from the hands of God.
My beautiful best friend lost her father last weekend. He was more than “just her dad.” He was her best friend, her confidante, and her go to guy. I’ve been blessed to be a part of her family since I was fourteen years old, so I’ve had the privilege of hearing many wonderful stories of times they’ve shared, and they have always brought a smile to my face.
As most of you know, growing up in the church we are instructed to praise God through any and all situations. It sounds easy to do on paper, but when faced with our worst fears, the thought of lifting our voices or hands in praise can be much harder than we expected.
Sometimes though, we are graced with the chance to see these actions played out in front of us. We go expecting a funeral service, but what we get instead is a going home celebration. We arrive with our hearts grieving and empty, and leave with them uplifted and full. We expect to find the family torn and broken, yet we discover they are overflowing with joy, hope, peace, and love.
As the celebration began that day, an instrumental version of my friend’s favorite song began to play softly, beautifully in the background. “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee. How great Thou art. How great Thou art.”
I thought this was such an appropriate song for the day. How great Thou art indeed! How great it is to celebrate together the life of a man who placed God number one. How great it is to know that we who are left behind will soon follow. How great it is to know that because God is love, even in death, we still win. Though we mourn, we still love, we still hope, and we still believe that God will one day send His Son back to take us home too.
“On that day, with a command that thunders into the world, with a voice of a chief heavenly messenger, and with a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven; and all those who died in the Anointed One, our Liberating King, will rise from the dead first. Then we who are alive and left behind will be snatched up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This is how we, the resurrected and the living, will be with Him forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Voice
You are fortunate indeed to have a friend who impacts your life so deeply, but you are blessed one-hundred fold to discover one, who along with her family, is willing to share the reason for their Hope on one of the worst days of their lives. (1 Peter 3:15)
I would be amiss if I didn’t end this by offering the same Hope to you. I know this family wants to tell you that He is the only reason for their strength. He’s the only One during this time who could shelter them under His wing. Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Don’t just believe there is a God, but take that next step…confess it with your mouth, ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and accept Him as your Savior and Lord.
“And when I think of God, His son not sparing. Sent Him to die, I scare can take it in. That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing. He bled and died, to take away my sin.”
“O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and weary land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for Your presence. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and have been awed by Your power and glory. Your steadfast love is better than life itself, so my lips will give You all my praise. I will bless You with every breath of my life; I will lift up my hands in praise to Your name.” Psalm 63:1-4
“My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. He alone is my rock and deliverance, my citadel high on a hill; I will not be shaken. My salvation and my significance depend ultimately on God; the core of my strength, my shelter, is in the True God.” Psalm 62:5-7
Photos submitted by D Norris
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