On Good Friday, 1999, believers gathered at Union Church of Lima for a solemn service of reflection to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus, His sacrifice for us. My husband, our pastor, led the service. His voice choked with emotion as he read the words from the prophet Isaiah telling of the Suffering Servant who would come, the One who would be wounded for our transgressions. He spoke eloquently of the Savior and the life He lived, the death He died to bring us eternal life- he was keenly aware of physical suffering, he experienced God’s forgiveness through the sacrifice Jesus gave, and he knew without doubt the hope of eternal life is real.
One year later, early in the afternoon of Good Friday, his battle with the pain of cancer ended. In his last year, he lived with pain daily. He said despite that pain, life was worth it. He wanted to live, even if it never got any better. He did live. He fully embraced life. His life was filled being with us, his family. He had meaningful work as pastor at Union Church and as chaplain at the US Embassy. He had time for friends. He served the God he loved, and he shared that love with the people in his life. He showed us how to live and how to die.
The journey of grief is long. At first, it is all-consuming. With the passing of time, healing comes. Through the years, at times the longing for a loved one’s presence returns. Memories are always cherished. Love endures. Life goes on, and it is good.
Praise God for His love and mercy. His ways are perfect.