Earlier this week, my grandmother passed away after a long and difficult battle with dementia. We had some warning that she was nearing the end of her journey, but she left this world quicker than we expected. As the news was sent out to the family, many tears were shed and prayers spoken, but ultimately we all were thinking the same thing:
She is whole and now she is happier than ever before!
When I walked outside after work the morning Grandma passed, I was greeted by a stunning, colorful sunrise. For weeks prior to that morning, it had been nothing but gloomy gray skies all day every day. So imagine how overjoyed my family was when God sent us that sunrise. What a beautiful representation of hope! A perfect glimpse of the beauty that Grandma was seeing now that she is with her Savior! That sunrise was nothing compared to the majesty of Heaven, but it was God’s way of reminding us that even though we were sad, we would see her again and she is currently rejoicing with the angels. Hope is not lost.
As Christians, we often hear about how beautiful Heaven is. We talk about the angels worshipping the Lord, the streets of gold, and seeing the face of Jesus. But I have to admit that while I talked about all those things and agreed with people when they said they couldn’t wait to get to Heaven, I never truly understood it all. I love my life here so much and there is still so much left that I want to accomplish in life for me to deep down honestly be excited about leaving this world and going to Heaven. I know that once I get there, everything in this world will pale in comparison to Heaven, but…this life is great, too, right?
The mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the rolling greens and cliffs of Ireland, the monuments of London – all places I want to experience in this life. Falling in love, holding my first born, creating a home, sending out Christmas cards with updates of my family – even more life experiences I want to know.
But when Grandma left this world for her eternal home, I suddenly understood. I get what people mean when they long for Heaven! I think about Grandma laughing and smiling again; I think about her reunion with her son and daughter; I think about her walking around with ease and singing hymns to our Savior; I think about what it was like when she first saw Jesus’ face. The Son that she so faithfully served for 86 years looking her in the eye and saying to her:
Well done, good and faithful Esther. Enter into the joy of your Master.
So while I miss Grandma already, I honestly couldn’t be happier for her. And while I do have so many more things I want to experience in this life, I now look forward to the day God calls me home. I look forward to being whole again, reuniting with friends and family, and singing hymns with the angels. But most of all, I look forward to the day I see the face of the Savior who loved me so much that He died for me.
Stay with me for just a few minutes more. We all sin. It’s a fact. But because of that, none of us can come into the presence of a perfect God covered in sin and expect to be allowed into Heaven. The price to take away sins requires a perfect sacrifice and none of us are perfect. Thus we cannot pay the price for our own sins. So where does that leave us?
Not hopeless. Christ came to this earth not appearing out of thin air and demanding people follow him, but as a little baby born in a manger. He grew up and laughed and cried, just like us. He knew joy and sorrow, just like us. He was tempted, just like us. He knew what it was like to be in our shoes, but he never sinned, he never faltered, he was perfect. And he loves us so much that he was willing to become that perfect sacrifice for our sins. He died on a cross to pay the price for the sins of the world, and then three days later, Jesus rose from the grave – he is stronger than death, and we are promised that same power if we believe!
If you believe that Christ loves you and died for your sins, and you ask him to come change your heart, he will pay the cost of your sins. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the very presence of God, where Jesus has entered on our behalf.” (Heb. 6:19-20) And because our sins are removed, we are promised to be in Heaven one day. How awesome is that?!
So where do you stand? Do you have that hope, that anchor? If not, ask someone – I am more than willing to talk with you about it! I am so thankful to have a Grandma and Grandpa that taught their family the importance of the gift of salvation and that exemplified Christ’s love for us in every way. Grandma’s name is Esther, which in Hebrew means “star”. Grandma was just that – a bright star in a dark world who lived to serve and love those around her. I can only pray that I am half the woman that my grandma was.