My normal sweet sleep played “hide and seek” with me last night. I tossed and turned, prayed and talked to my husband, but sleep would never completely engage me the way I wanted it to. I had two dear people in my life to transition to their final destination of Heaven yesterday and it really took me for a loop as neither of them was expected.
One was a first cousin and the other was a dear friend and fellow worker in the vineyard who suffered an illness, but never showed the signs that she would soon be leaving us. Both were a total shock and spun me in a direction that had me sleepless, yet trusting God’s sovereignty. One of these precious ones told a mutual prayer partner of ours about a “dream” that she had.
She expressed that she had discovered that there were farm animals in Heaven. She disclosed that she had seen them there and that everything was bright and illuminated. Having heard that I was sure it was not a dream, but a vision/experience that she had before she went home to be with Jesus. It was funny to hear but it made sense that there would be animals in Heaven.
After all, God created them! After hearing of her and my cousin’s passing, I initially felt a heaviness and sadness that I couldn’t shake. After losing sleep and praying, I began to feel like I was using too much time thinking about their deaths, rather than what they are experiencing right now in the presence of the Lord. I decided that I would begin to focus on my assignments here that God has given me.
It was at that time that I began to feel guilty for feeling this way. How could I not stay in that mode of heaviness and not share the grief with other family and friends? “And He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-60.
I have read this passage many times and like many of you, thought that this was a rather cold response from Jesus. After all, this man was grieving the death of his father and all he wanted to do was bury him. But Jesus insisted that he continue in proclaiming the gospel and spreading hope rather than pouring himself into burying his father who had already gone to his eternal resting place.
I was reminded of this today as my thoughts are with my cousin and sister in Christ. Our focus must remain on the kingdom. Having read those words, I was comforted and released to fix my mind on advancing the Kingdom of God in the earth and smile as I remember them.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 declares, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” They have joined that great cloud of witness cheering us onward and we will see them again. Until next time beloved.. Every Blessing © 10/23/15 LBW