Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Finishing well

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post any information about the menu for the open houses (past and present). A friend of ours passed away Saturday evening and we just found out last night that his funeral was to be held today. It still amazes me to see the difference between the funeral of a strong believer and one who... isn't. Although there were a lot of tears at today's funeral, there was also hope... and laughter... and the knowledge we would meet our friend again.

He had committed his life to Christ late in life and was miraculously able to walk away from a lifetime abuse of alcohol. We didn't know that he and his wife had divorced at one time due to his drinking. As he changed (for the better), they ended up getting remarried a few years before they moved here to be closer to their daughter and her family. He had battled cancer eight years ago and his health had not been good since then but he lasted years longer than doctors ever expected.

Our pastor talked about G. and how he had "finished well". His transformation had started in his late 50s, much later than most in our church. However, in his last years... especially the last ten years which those present had known him... he had been a man who was a friend and father not only to his own but to many people. He was a wonderful grandfather. He had grown in his study of the Word, and in allowing God to love those who are not too lovely through him... for he had walked that path before and knew miracles were possible.

I want to finish well. I read a book a few years ago that said only 50% of those making a decision to follow Christ actually end their life as a committed Christian. I can understand, of course. Life comes at you hard at times... many times. I've mentioned here before about the many mornings I awoke and was quite sad He hadn't taken me Home during the night. Life was way too difficult and my trials so heartbreaking that I had to remind myself to breath.

Life is still hard. However, I look back now and know He truly was carrying me through those times. He did make an escape, just as He promises in the Word. I understand those Scriptures which talk about faith... patience... experience... and hope. Once you have gone around the mountain a few times, you begin to know that hope is possible because you've gone that route before. You will draw strength from His Word because it is True.

When we were leaving the funeral home, my husband told me that was the best funeral he had ever been to because it gave him hope. He was twelve years younger than our friend. There was hope his best days were still ahead. :)

We sung some great songs at the funeral. One was a chorus we sang a lot at church which I'll end this post with. However, I was reminded again of the song I've told my family I want sung at my funeral. It's not super spiritual. It isn't even "Christian". It is a song I have on my Play List because it makes me smile and I have said for years it is the PERFECT funeral song... I Can See Clearly Now. Stop to think of it. When could we better say those words than when we see into Eternity and no longer are "looking through a glass darkly". :)

Here are the words of the ending song (chorus) at our friend's Home Going today.

Who Am I?

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt?

Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wand'ring heart?


Not because of who I am,
But because of what You've done;

Not because of what I've done,
but because of who You are;

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow,

A wave tossed in the ocean,
a vapor in the wind;

Still You hear me when I'm calling,
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling;

And you've told me who I am...
I am Yours!

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again?

Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me?

Picture: Building Memories; J. Sorenson; available at allposters.com


cheri said...

My sympathy for the loss of your friend, Brenda. But then, we don't sorrow like those who have no hope, do we?

I posted that song on my blog a few years ago. I love it and mentioned to my three boys that they could sing and play it at my funeral. 'And when would that be,' they asked...

I understand your readiness to go, especially when things are hard. Heaven looks, well, heavenly!

God does have His ways which are not our ways. I am so thankful!

I know He will give you time enough to do everything you need to do this week.


freetobeme said...

My condolences. Sometimes life is so hard, but the hope we have in Jesus...

Suze said...

I, too, just attended the funeral of a believer. She was the mother of a whole family of strong believers - the funeral was a celebration. There were tears, of course, because she will be sorely missed. But there were memories and laughter and love - and it was a joyful experience.

nanatrish said...

Brenda,your writing was so touching and on point. What a blessed Hope we have! I think we can become somewhat envious at times when a loved one that knows the Lord passes on. I think Paul did in the scriptures. Your friend got to know the Lord and you saw fruit in his life. What a special gift to work with the hard to love. He had been there and God gave him insights into where these people are coming from. We may never know the extent and outreach your friend had on the down and out. God is always there to lift us out, it's just that we get stuck in our ways and habits and it sometimes takes the Lord with skin to show us we can make it. The chorus you shared is so good. What humbling words. Thank you for helping me take the time to reflect and enjoy God's time for me. You may not realize it but through this blog you have become a shining beacon of hope to me. Love ya, Trish

Karen said...

I think we all need the reminder to finish well. Thanks for the thoughts this day.

Anonymous said...

I will simply say thank you for your post today. Such wisdom in those words - they touched me deeply. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Lallee said...

Brenda, I've been reading all your posts the past couple of days so I could catch up. Your friend's funeral is such a contrast to one I went to last week. There was no hope and so many were saying 'he's better off' trying to make themselves feel better. So sad. My sympathy on the loss of a friend, and my rejoicing over the beauty of God's work done well in a human life.

Big congratulations to Chris on his graduation! I'll be praying for good weather and NO storms for your open house.


Lallee said...

Sorry, me again ;-) I forgot to say Who am I is one of my most favorite songs. I have a very special memory from that song. Also, I love the print you chose for this post. Thank you for sharing the title.

Nancy said...

I have really enjoyed this post! I understand everything you posted about...Life is sooo hard to live sometimes! When I wake up in the mornings, I tell myself, today is a day the Lord hath made and I WILL rejoice and be glad in it and in ALL THINGS I will give HIM Thanks, the good things and the bad things! Blessings, Nancy

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Your new song is excellent...I've listened to it a few times this morning.

Wonderful testimony of your friend...to finish well is a high goal...I just want to finish. ;>

Becky K. said...

That is a beautiful song. I love the lyrics and the music.

I am sorry for your loss.

A believer's funeral can be near celebratory. My Dad's was! The pain and loss came later from our missing him daily.

Becky K.