I went to a funeral today. No funeral is fun, but today's was especially difficult. A wonderful lady that I used to teach with died this past week. She was 32 years old, married, close to her parents and siblings, had a 3 year old son, and was pregnant with a baby girl who was soon to be born. She had placenta previa and began to hemorrhage. The doctors were unable to save her or her baby.
This funeral got under my skin more than others I have been to because I related to way too much of it. Not only is this a person my age, she had children the age of mine, and was pregnant - like me. There are a few things in life that are just unnatural: a parent burying their child, and a young child losing their parent. But in the midst of this tragedy, there was hope. The funeral was not somber. There were tears, and the family and friends will continue to grieve, but there was hope. We sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "Victory in Jesus." The huge choir at the church she was involved in sang of heaven and how wonderful it will be to be there someday. During their very moving and upbeat song, my friend's husband, in the midst of his grief, stood and raised his hands and sang with the choir. He has hope.
The pastor also spoke something that really resonated with my heart although I had not put it into words before. Each time someone we love goes ahead of us in death, if they were believers, heaven gets that much sweeter to us. When I was a child, I used to pray that Jesus would tarry long enough for me to experience more life here on earth. I couldn't understand how much more wonderful heaven would be because of my limited experience here on earth. As I have aged, and gone through hard experiences, I have begun to see heaven in a new light. Sometime in college, I was able to begin to pray that the Lord would return - soon. After I lost my first baby, I longed for the day I could meet him in heaven. As I carried Aaron in my womb, I prayed that he would hurry because I knew the pain my son would experience if he stayed long on this earth. After Aaron was born, I knew for the first time the sacrifice God the Father made in giving his only son in death - for me. I knew I wouldn't make the same sacrifice with my only son. Now I know that two of my children will greet me when I go to heaven, and heaven is a lot sweeter than it used to be. I will get to know one of my grandfathers for the first time in heaven, and get to know the other without the burden of alcoholism. Today makes my heart cry for the Lord to hurry and come!