Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Family Funeral

Pop's Brother-in-Law
Pop and I recently traveled back to our home town to celebrate the life of his brother in law who passed away.  His sister, now widowed, has walked a painful road for some years. Her husband had Huntington's Disease which extracted a heavy toll on him, her, their three daughters and their families.  Huntington's Disease is a disorder in which nerve cells in certain parts of the brain degenerate which wreaks havoc in many ways.

Pop and his siblings - 2012
As we gathered with family, we were blessed to hear from Pop's sister and daughters stories  of God's grace and mercy. They shared with us stories of times they will cherish for the rest of their lives.  Stories of caregivers who love as they care, stories of food cravings fulfilled and long sessions of old shows like Lawrence Welk.  They spoke of scriptures, hymns, and a prayer life that transcended the illness that gradually stole their husband/father from them...but the beauty of it all is the true story of redemption...that this man, whose life on earth was difficult at best, now is resting peacefully with our heavenly Father; his struggles finished.  Because of the hope we have which is in Christ, we look forward to seeing him again - fully restored. Oh what joy!

One of Pop's brothers is a pastor and he was called upon to speak and to facilitate the funeral service. As the family gathered prior to the service, he called all the men to surround our widowed sister and he prayed over her.  The stark reality is that she will most likely need some help and he charged the men in her life as scripture dictates.  James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Lord willing, Pop's sister will have many years ahead of her to enjoy her children and her grandchildren.  God has been and will always be out in front of her.  Two of her daughters live near her with most of her grandchildren. One of her sons-in-law is a physician's assistant and provided so much wisdom and love.  One of  her daughters who lives states away ca me home to spend time with her father...two weeks every two months...and what a blessing that was for all!

Pop blesses me consistently as I hear his prayers for his sister and her family...prayers for good memories, shortened grieving, and the peace that passes all understanding.  I cannot imagine surviving the trials of this life without knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I cannot fathom the futile thought that this life is all there is.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

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