As I write this, I find myself unexpectedly in my home state of Missouri with my family celebrating the life of my Uncle Gary, while mourning the fact that we will all miss him very much. Uncle Gary was a very special individual who is often difficult to explain to those who have never met him. He was born to my Grandparents almost 68 years ago with some kind of mental disability. He never could speak, but he had a way of letting you know when he was or wasn’t happy. He was a drink thief so you better not leave your cup unattended. Some of his favorite toys were dish soap bottles, big plastic combs in Prince Albert tobacco cans, and empty bags of potato chips. He loved rooster and train sounds and he loved his family. Uncle Gary was one of those sweet souls that not everyone gets a chance to have in their family, but he was a staple in ours. He was surrounded by the best family who took care of him in the best way until God called him home.

The reason I share this is that death is something we all face. It is devastating and it is so difficult to find a new normal once someone you love has passed away. But as a Christian, I 100% know and believe that when we leave this life, we are alive in the presence of God himself. We are whole and healthy and will never again have to suffer loss, pain, or heartbreak. When Jesus met with Martha and Mary after their brother, Lazarus had died, he had these comforting words for them, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26). Jesus was reminding the ladies that there is life after death for those who are found in Christ. I can tell you, as someone who has lost quite a few people close to me, including my dad almost 5 years ago, this is an amazing source of comfort and peace. I can picture my loved ones in heaven, fully complete and perfect in Christ; whole, healthy, and more happy than they’ve ever been. I am still sad because I will miss them while I am still here on earth, but none of them would come back even for a second if they were given the chance. They are living the perfect existence that God wanted from the very beginning in which our fellowship with him and with each other is untainted by the destructive effects of sin. Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I will make all things new…”

I hate death. I hate having to miss friends and family that I love very much. BUT I have a future and a hope in Jesus Christ. Because he lived, died, and rose from that death, there is nothing too difficult for him. Death can be just a passageway into the best existence you’ve never even been able to imagine. All it takes is accepting God’s gift. He takes care of the rest.

I pray that even if you find yourself in the midst of the most tragic and difficult time you’ve ever experienced, you will allow God in. Allow him to show you the hope and peace he can bring in all circumstances… even death.

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