Death unto Glory Part I: We Shall See Her Again in Glory… Forever!
My wife and I witnessed my mother-in-law passing from this life to the next. Did we think it would come so quickly? Did we think it would happen like this? She was not previously dealing with any chronic health issue, such as cancer, aside from having broken her hip one year before. By the night of her death, she had suffered a burst bowl that led to her body shutting down. As we prayed the power and peace of Jesus over her, did what we could to comfort her and spoke truth into her, we watched her mind begin to fade along with her body.
My wife is an only child of divorced parents, for which this load was heavy to burden. My wife spoke on the phone with her mother multiple times a day. We ate 2-3 meals per week with my mother-in-law and celebrated all holidays and special occasions with her aside from hanging out with her on a regularly basis. She was a big part of our lives and will be dearly missed. It is we who get to suffer on this side of heaven as we long to talk to her and miss eating meals with her. Through it all, I am grateful that my sons were able to see her and hug her before it was too late. They were able to say goodbye to each other. Looking back, that was huge! We are glad the Lord led us to make sure the boys saw her one last time… and vice versa for my mother-in-law.
My mother-in-law had a big heart, something that we will share more about in part two of this two-part devotional.
I took the opportunity to speak at her funeral. Alongside a family friend, who is a pastor, the gospel message was clearly explained and the offer to accept salvation transpired with some coming to Christ and re-thinking their eternity. As a part of my message, I spoke on the following, encouraging all who were present who had not accepted Christ as Lord, to do so before it is too late.
As I stated earlier, my mother-in-law had a big heart—she was always thinking of others, going out of her way to help people. Generosity was the heartbeat of her days. Family was all to her. Her thoughtfulness impacted many in her family. The stories I have heard about her from the age of 18 onward are many, filled with examples that have positively influenced my family and others over the decades. If you knew Eilene, you knew her compassion, a heart that was larger than life. Back in the day she would go, go, go to make things happen for her immediate family as well as her extended family and friends. She was the hostess with the mostess, doing what she could to unite family with parties and outings. This was one of the ways she expressed love, commitment, and kinship. In her later years, though she could not go, go, go physically as much, her heart pounded with a passion to pray for others in their pain, hopes, and joys. My wife and I witnessed as her heart rested further and further in to Jesus’ strong and comforting hands… until finally her big heart beat one last time on this earth and skipped a beat onward with her first breath of heaven. The fight was over. In the end, my mother-in-law only had two matters that she cared about. One, that her grandsons knew she loved them. Two, that she was going to heaven forever. She understood that a real heaven and hell exist. She grasped that no religion or personal philosophy would get her into heaven—only a personal relationship with Jesus would make this possible. I know that I will see her again. Do you? If you desire to see her once more, my mother-in-law would love for you to do as she had. Through the brokenness, sorrow, disappointment, excitement, and joys that she experienced in life, she gave that big heart that she had to Jesus. My mother-in-law confessed with her mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed with her heart that God raised Him from the dead (Rom 10:9). In this, she understood that Jesus could save her from hell and usher her into eternal paradise. She would love for you to meet her there someday! However, you must make a choice. None of us in this room are getting any younger. Don’t waste another moment. It is time to be serious about where you will spend eternity. I implore you to accept Jesus into your life so that you can watch the remainder of your days on earth ignite with the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). I am going to where the brave dwell forever in glory. Among those are my lovely mother-in-law.
The call went out to all—where will you spend eternity? I said, “If you loved Eilene and want to see her again, you must make Jesus your Lord or you will not see her again.” Between the pastor and me, we left no room for misunderstanding. How much people listened or took in, we will most likely not know on this side of heaven.
My mother-in-law always had a sure faith in Jesus. She definitely struggled with a great many issues in life, personally, relationally and spiritually, rendering her to never grow beyond the infant stage of spiritual maturity. At times, she moved in this direction, into deeper places with Jesus, but her life, troubles and more warred against her efforts. Still, she was resolved that Jesus was God and that only Jesus was the way to heaven (John 3:16, John 14:6). In some of her last cognitive words that she said to my wife and me, “Are the boys here?” to which we replied, “No.” She said, “Tell them that I love them.”
We confirmed that we would. My wife said, “We love you, Mama. Mom, do you see Jesus? It’s ok for you to go be with him now.”
My mother-in-law replied, “Praise the Lord”.
Life is so frail. The breath between mortality and eternity is so thin… fragile, something that cannot be grasped, possessed or kept safe. Death steals it so easily. We cannot escape it. We take life for granted, then we wonder how it disappears so quickly. Truly, as is penned in the ancient Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, we are but mist in the air, a fleeting shadow (Psalm 144:4, James 4:14). All men are like the grass of the field. Here today, gone tomorrow (Psalm 103:15, 1 Peter 1:24). There is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from the shadow of night that we must all traverse. Yet, it is on this side of immortality that we must choose to what day we will face next once our last heartbeat fades… do we rise to a new dawn, a glory that is unending where no more tears exist and kingdoms under the heavenly authority of Christ abound (Paradise) or do we descend to an abysmal fate, lavished in torment, gnashing of teeth and unconceived nightmares (Hell) to all end by the final white throne judgement of Jesus in the sentencing to the lake of fire (Luke 13:28, Matthew 13:42, John 5:28-29, Revelation 20:10-13)? Indeed, we have quite the paramount choice to make.
My day of death will arrive someday. I am going to where the brave dwell forever. I will join my God, see Him with my own eyes, touch His nail-pierced hands and bow before Him in utter adoration and reverence… and fear I would presume. A great mixture of respect, awe and extreme comfort bathed in joy like I will never experience on earth. I will also see the unthinkable and dwell with loved ones from earth, meet all followers of Christ both great and small. And I will see my mother-in-law and more…
My mother-in-law would want you to know salvation, as does my entire family. Therefore, if you have not bowed the knee of your heart to Jesus and proclaimed Him Lord and Savior of your soul, now is the time. Repeat these words and enter into the kingdom of light…
Jesus, I believe that you are God. I confess with my mouth that you are Lord. I thank you for spilling your blood for me on the cross and I believe with all that is within me that you rose from the dead three days later. I proclaim that you hold the keys to death and hell. Please forgive me of my sins and accept me as your child and heir. I love you, Jesus. Thank you for loving me when I did not deserve it. Amen. (Romans 10:9-10, Revelation 1:18, Galatians 3:29, Hebrews 6:17 and 9:15, Colossians 1:12, Romans 8:17, Titus 3:7, 1 Peter 1:3-4, and many more references!)
These are uncertain times. Whether you agree with how they have come about or not, we are in the midst of concerning times for people. If you are a Christian warrior, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31-39). Do not be afraid. Fear only the Lord (over 300 references regarding “fearing the Lord” in the OT and NT). Answer the clarion call to arms and suite up with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). The battle cry for your existence is now! Jesus has already won the war with His work on Calvary (Luke 23:39-49 and the centerpiece of all NT Scripture).
Whose side are you on?
Join the immortal!
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