My mum died yesterday. Though of course I will miss her, I can’t be too sad, because she had lived into her 96th year and leaves a whole host of treasured memories. Mum had a radiant Christian faith, and so I can picture in my mind’s eye not only the welcome she will have received in heaven but also the reunion she will experience both with my dad (who died over 25 years ago) and my brother Phil, who died last year. Though there is a sense of loss, I can only rejoice for mum. Over the last few years she became increasingly frail, and although inwardly she was remarkably content, her death is something of a release for her, especially when one considers what she is currently experiencing – a new life free from any pain, struggle, sadness or tears.
Some time ago mum planned her thanksgiving service, and her Christian faith and the strong assurance she had of her eternal destiny shines through her choice of hymns and Bible readings.
One of the Bible readings which mum chose was from 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 3-9. Peter is writing about how Christian believers need to see the struggles of our earthly life (which are temporary) in the context of the glorious eternal future we have in Christ Jesus. This is the passage from The Message version of the Bible:
‘What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven - and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all - life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him - with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.’
Many times, I heard mum say that the two foundations of her life were ‘my faith and my family.’ I thank God for the example she set in what it means to live a life of faith, especially in the tough times, and to love one’s family. Thanks, mum xxx