It happened three days ago, January 13th, 2017. My paternal grandmother, Leila Mae Cross, went home to be with Jesus. When my dad told me the news, I thanked God. That’s what I had been praying for these last few months, you know. It was horrible just knowing that Grandma was suffering so much, and the doctors couldn’t do anything about it. Even though I would miss her, I longed for her to be free from pain, because I love her so much. Every time I left the village and went to the city, one of the very first things I hurried to do was check e-mail to see if there was news about Grandma. On Christmas Day, I thought of her and prayed for her and hoped she was celebrating in Heaven, instead of suffering in that nursing home bed.
The last few years were really hard, as she slowly lost Grandpa to Ahlzeimer’s, and eventually to death a year ago. The last few months were harder, as cancer returned and she went to live in a care facility, eventually needing morphine every single day, just to keep the pain at barely manageable levels. The last few weeks were the hardest – dark and difficult and painful.
Grandma suffered. so. much. Her suffering was real, probably more excruciating and agonizing than most of us could imagine. It must have seemed like it would never end.
But then! Friday morning, in one moment, Grandma stepped from these shadow-lands into an eternity of endless light. She will never face another night that seems to drag on forever. She will never experience pain again. She will never feel alone, for one single minute, in a hospital or care facility or anywhere else. The dark glass is removed forever and she sees face-to-face.
She is with Jesus, the Saviour she loved and served since she was a young woman. The motto of Grandma’s life was, “Yes, Lord,” as she walked in daily obedience to His Word and His call to missions. I know she didn’t always obey perfectly; none of us do. Her faith must have faltered at times; even Abraham’s and Moses’s did, but they are still listed in Hebrews 11, as men who walked by faith. And my Grandma and Grandpa are right near the top of my personal list of heroes of the faith.
For, despite whatever sin and doubt she may have struggled with from time to time, Grandma walked with Christ. She fought a good fight. She finished the course. She kept the faith. She depended on Jesus for salvation, for the strength to live a godly life, and for all her daily needs. By His grace, she did not grow weary in well doing. She resisted the enemy, striving against sin. She went into the world, preaching the Gospel in many states and provinces, showing the love of Jesus to many people of many ethnic groups.
Her journey with Christ included times of joy and times of testing. There were ups and downs. There were victories and defeats. There was pleasure and pain.
And now, her journey is finally over. Grandma has reached her final destination, her forever home, her eternal rest.
The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning. C.S. Lewis, in The Last Battle
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Romans 8:18, 21
Glory revealed. Glorious liberty. We cannot begin to imagine all that this means. But here are some of the scattered phrases that seem to express small pieces of the concept, as I reflect on what Grandma is experiencing right now.
Considering the intensity of Grandma’s sufferings during her lifetime, the glory which has now been revealed in her must be absolutely brilliant and breathtakingly beautiful. The glory of God is shining in her and through her, and she has received the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. And although my journey is not over yet, Heaven seems so much closer.
As you ponder your own continuing journey, do you know, with absolute certainty, what your final destination will be? Will you spend eternity in Heaven?
Jesus said, in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father except by me.”
If you have any questions about what it means to believe in Jesus, or how to know where you will go when you die, please send me an e-mail (email@example.com). I would love to talk with you more about these things, because like my Grandma’s was, my deepest desire is for you to know Jesus, my friend, that we might all be with Him together someday, forever.
Let me close with a promise from the Bible, made to all who have been saved, by faith in Christ alone.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3, 4