My grandma passed away recently. She shuffled off this mortal coil. She died. There are so many ways to describe death. There are the heartfelt sayings like, “she is in a better place,” or “at least she doesn’t hurt anymore.” I am sure we could go on and on with the different ways in which we talk about death and our loved ones dying.
But then there is the truth. She is not gone. Not here on this mortal plane anymore, yes. But she is not gone. My grandma was a believer in Jesus Christ and that makes all the difference. She is being held in the loving arms of her Almighty Father surrounded by His glory. She is face to face with Jesus Christ, basking in His glory. She knows now fully even as she is fully known. She sees face to face, no more seeing dimly as in a mirror. She is with her Lord. She is glorified. She is waiting for completion of God’s redemption with the rest of the saints. That is the truth. The truth that all those sayings don’t even come close to expressing. This is the glorious future that awaits all believers whose bodies fail before Christ comes again.
And it is because of this truth that we as Christians approach death differently. We mourn the passing of loved ones and friends, but if they are in Christ we don’t mourn like the world. The world mourns without hope. They can’t hope for life after death. They can’t truly hope to see their loved ones again. They shouldn’t have a hope that their loved ones are with God. But we can and do have such hopes. We have these hopes because that is what our Lord tells us in scripture. Jesus claims “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” So how can we mourn when we have this truth? We mourn our loss, but we celebrate their gain. Those who know Christ and pass away gain Christ. They are with Him!
Knowing that my grandma is with Christ not only allows me to celebrate where she is now but also to celebrate who she was while she was here. My grandma, Martha, was a woman of God. She raised 3 boys in the ways of the Lord alongside her husband, my granddad. She was outspoken and opinionated and you had to love her for that because she wasn’t going to change. She stood by her convictions. She loved deeply. There are almost too many memories to filter through. Small ones like how she introduced me to drinking coffee and how to learn to enjoy it black. And then, of course, there is the famous (infamous) story of fighting over whether to put milk in the gravy… we still laugh about it to this day. These memories and so many more speak to her legacy. A legacy of being a great mom, a wonderful grandma, and a passionate great-grandma. Her legacy is her family. A family who follow the Lord and will one day see her again.
I will miss you, grandma, but I know I will see you again one day. But more importantly, I know you are with our Lord. I know that every tear has been wiped away, I know He holds you close. Your eyes have seen what mine long to, our Savior. So I can’t mourn for you. I mourn for my family and myself for not having you around anymore, but I can never mourn for you. I celebrate your gain. I celebrate your life.