Our Hope

Arise Shine - pg. 2    1    2    Next   

The next few days seemed to float by for my family. It felt like a nightmare and they were anxiously hoping to wake up. Family members were arriving from out of town and friends and neighbors were calling and stopping by to give their condolences. There was so much love and community support. One of mom's friends, Merania stopped by with bags full of fun groceries; you know all the good food like Twinkies, chips and cookies. She told mom that when her father passed away when she was young someone gave the same things to their family and it was so helpful especially with all the extra company, she was right.

There were a lot of phone calls made and the local news even commented that I had passed away. All the final funeral details were completed and a video tribute was made. They used the song, "The Dance", by Garth Brooks in the video. The words in the song really described how my parents felt. They were glad they didn't know how it all would end. If they had been told on the very first discovery that the cancer would come back and that I would not survive, our life would have been quite different. We wouldn't have lived for those 2 1/2 years, we would have always been in a state of is today the day? Instead we were able to live life with hope and thankfulness for every day that we were given.

Our family had lived out an amazing truth through this experience and that truth is that there is nothing greater than knowing Jesus. The prayers of those two men given years ago had been answered. Our family had come to know the Lord and we were together. Even though I am now with the Lord our family will be together again through eternity. My dad felt guilt at working out of town during the time that I was the healthiest. But the truth is that because of that time away he had the opportunity to learn about Christ and share that with our family. So that time basically was exchanged for eternity. That's a great trade if you ask me. Our truth was sung in a song at my funeral.

"All I Once Held Dear"

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
all this world reveres and wars to own,
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
spent and worthless now, compared to this.

Knowing you, Jesus, knowing You, there is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best,
You're my joy, my righteousness, and I love You, Lord.

Now my heart's desire is to know you more,
to be found by you, and known as yours,
To posses by faith what I could not earn;
all surpassing gift of righteousness.

Oh to know the power of your risen life,
and to know you in your sufferings,
To become like you in your death my Lord;
so with you to live, and never die.

That is our truth, Jesus is our truth. He had been with us every step of the way, sent people to pray for us, invite us to church, love us and become our church family. And he isn't finished. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. My family was going to experience the love and compassion of Christ in a way they had never known before.

The night of the viewing was approaching and my parents were apprehensive about the event. They were emotionally drained and didn't feel that they had the physical strength to make it through the evening. When they arrived several family members and friends were already present and throughout the night several people stopped by to share their support. They were amazed at the strength they felt from the kindness of everyone who attended.

That love and kindness gave them the strength to start again the next day for the funeral. With the family around them, they all gathered around my casket and said their last good-bye's. Isn't that cool, they will never say good-bye to me again, only hello. How awesome is that!

There were so many people at the funeral they all couldn't fit in the same room. It was a very nice tribute and my family greatly appreciated everyone's thoughtfulness. After the services the procession made its way to the cemetery. When they arrived at the cemetery, Shannon was waiting for them with tons of balloons. When the time came the balloons were distributed to all who attended and at the same time they were all released. It looked like a balloon rainbow in the beautiful blue sky.

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Philippians 3:7-11  NIV

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

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