My best friend is facing her final journey. I’m writing this post with her permission, so that it may help others who are going through the same thing. Life is so fragile, so tentative, but really a time of grace which God has given us to ready us for heaven.
As I remember how we first came together as friends, I think about our move from Wisconsin to Minnesota. My husband had taken a job in our new state and I was still living in our old home with three children sick with the measles. My sweet, spotted, cranky children were not behaving well, nor did they feel well and neither did their frazzled mom. I got a call from my husband telling me he’d found a new church and a nice couple who had invited him for dinner a few times. At first I was a bit jealous that he was having such a good time meeting new friends, while I was trying to pack and care for the kiddos. but when I met them, we became friends instantly.
There are a million stories to tell about the fun times we shared – the difficult times which seemed insurmountable at the time, but looking back, God placed these folks in our lives for a very special reason – to be our friends. They were there for us when we were struggling to get a business off the ground They were there when other “friends’ deserted us after that once successful business failed. They were there in those early years to fill the empty spots of being alone in a new state. They stood by us whenever we needed a friend, someone to talk to, to share parenting difficulties and advice.
I remember times when our husbands would go hunting and come back with tall tales about their adventures. I remember being at a church bazaar and asking her husband for some money, because I thought he was my husband. (They looked like twins from the back.) I remember her laughing at my jokes, even the ones that weren’t particularly funny. I envied her organizational skills and her ability to get a whole meal on the table while each item was still hot. She was an amazing cook – gardened – canned her own produce and always was able to get her work done and volunteer at church too. She’s the kind of friend I can be apart from for a while, and when we come back together, everything is just as it left off.
In church yesterday, our pastor talked about how Jesus didn’t take the easy way out when His accusers attacked with words of scorn and ridicule. He could’ve gotten off that cross and shown everyone that He is God. Instead His divine mission was to assure forgiveness of sins to everyone who has ever walked the face of the earth. He chose to suffer so that we don’t have to. He’s now preparing a place for us in heaven.
At that moment, my heart began to break a little. I know my friend is going to heaven. I jealously wish it were me instead, but God still has things to work on with me. She, on the other hand, has done what she was created for – to love others, to share her love for Christ, to raise a family with the assistance of God’s Word, to be a devoted wife, mother, grandma, sister, daughter, child of God and wonderful friend. She will be welcomed as a good and faithful servant.
Tears began to flow as I thought about what Jesus has done for all of us. He could’ve chosen another way to deliver us from the sting of death and darkness of sin, but He didn’t. His love – God’s love – is so great that it was the only way. His resurrection insures our place in heaven and I know without a doubt that my friend will be there with her Savior. I can’t wait to be with her there, because I know things will be just as they were when we didn’t see each other for a while. We’ll just pick up where we left off. True friends are like that.
Mountainous clouds entwine in a sky of black,
Filling with tears from the Lord of all.
He sees and He knows our tribulation.
The depth of our sorrow is in His hands.
There is nothing we can do to take away our sadness.
We cannot change the course of our lives,
But He has turned His tears to cleansing waters
Through the death of His beloved Son.
Washed – forgiven for sin’s deadly pain,
We can dance in His refreshing rain.