As a shy 15 year old I was hesitant to go to my first Sunday School class at our new church. I was glad that my brother was with me as we walked into the little room. We were greeted by a sweet lady with snow white hair and a box full of puppets! Mrs. S (as she told us to call her) had a firm hand and beautiful spirit. We spend Sunday School hour reading through Proverbs and practicing puppet skits and songs. Sometimes we would practice puppets on a Saturday and Mrs. S would make sloppy joes and chocolate cake with delicious icing for lunch. Through the years Mrs. S had a lot of influence on my heart and development into a young lady. I knew that she suffered from chronic health afflictions, yet she was always ready to ask about how I was doing - the focus was never on herself. Her deep faith in God through the suffering she endured (which included loss of a leg due to diabetes) was a testimony to everyone who knew her. As our Pastor's wife the sermon she gave just by how she lived was beautiful. On our wedding day she was there and I found her in the crowd and we hugged before my Farmer Boy and I took off on our honeymoon (she said it was about time that he married me!) She said our wedding was the most beautiful she and her husband had ever seen. I remember the last time they had us over to their house - she baked a delicious poppy seed chicken dish and her house was spotless and decorated so beautifully as always. I always admired the wonderful housewife she was (she had 7 children just like my mama!) and the sweet relationship Pastor Dave and Mrs. S had - faithfully married all those years.
Yesterday morning Mrs. S went to heaven. My heart is grieved deeply for the loss her family has suffered - she will be greatly missed. But I am also rejoicing that Mrs. S is seeing our Savior face to face in a place with no more pain where she is whole and healed. The Bible says that we grieve when someone we love has passed away - but not as those who have no hope.
I've been thinking a lot about hope lately. We use the word hope more like a wish: "I hope Santa brings me a new car for Christmas", " I hope I don't catch that cold bug" ... but the Bible uses the word hope much differently. It is a confident expectation. A CONFIDENT EXPECTATION. The confidence is because Jesus Christ (fully God putting on human flesh to save us) came as a baby so many years ago and then died for our sins (and raised from the dead!) so that we might live in heaven with Him forever. He took away the deep hopelessness of death and replaced it with confidence and joy. Yes, we grieve. What I would give to see Mrs. S again. But we also have hope. Hope that those who believe will see her again in heaven someday. Hope does not disappoint.
I wonder if Mrs. S will be making chocolate cake in heaven - serving others as she always has.