Larry and I visited our friend, Jenny, a week ago Monday and we knew her time on earth was short. For five years she had courageously battled cancer and now the Lord was calling her home. Morphine eased her pain but also made it difficult for her to open her eyes. She could barely smile and no longer speak. It broke our hearts to see her, but we were so glad we could hold her hands and kiss her cheek. We knew it would be the last time we saw her on this earth.
Three days later, on Thursday morning at 7:30am, I continued praying for God’s mercy and peace for her and her family. Then I sensed the Lord whisper, “It’s all right, she’s with Me.” Not sure whether I’d just imagined it, I discounted it. Yet, at 9am, we received the long-awaited text from her husband that Jenny had entered heaven at 7am that morning. I rejoiced that her struggle was over. Jenny was with Jesus.
Later we found out that with Jenny’s last breath, her eyes popped open in amazement and she smiled broadly. Then she was gone, running into Jesus’ arms. Absent from the body but present with the Lord.
In the few days since Jenny’s graduation into heaven, I’ve continued my daily readings of Revelation. Suddenly, what the Apostle John records there seems more real. What did Jenny see that made her smile? We don’t know for sure. But if not immediately, we know she entered the throne room of heaven where John’s account tells us she saw “one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength” (1:13-16 NASB).
What a glorious experience for her, and some day for every one of us who have their sins washed clean in Jesus’ redemptive blood.
As Jenny’s family grieves and as we grieve for ourselves and for them, how wonderful to claim 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope” (NASB).
Our grief is understandable; even Jesus grieved with Lazarus’ family. But we grieve with hope, knowing we will see her again and that she is happier enjoying heaven than she ever was in life on this earth.
I miss and will miss my friend, Jenny. I wish I could call her right now. Her creativity, her visionary mind, her passion for Christ, and her love for her family inspired and encouraged me. I’m so glad she was my friend. And I look forward to seeing her again.
When I relayed the news of Jenny’s astonishment in seeing heaven to my friend, Lynn, she cried out, “It’s real! It’s real! Heaven is real!” I echo that. Dear friends, it’s real! Are you going there after you die?