For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. –I Corinthians 13:12
I was heartbroken hearing of the death of my friend, Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Jennifer joined Jesus in heaven on Wednesday evening, June 12th, 2019. She was a powerful example of God’s love and wisdom. Jennifer and I shared a common desire for encouraging the Body of Christ to grow in sanctification. As a result, she graciously wrote the Foreword for my book, Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. I have been using one of her most recent books, Seek, as my daily devotional. To know she will no longer be blessing us with her wisdom and joy seems incomprehensible. Only trusting God’s wise plan is sustaining her family and all of us who feel this loss. We know Jennifer would want us all to trust God and honor Him and that strengthens our resolve to surrender to His will.
As I thought of how thrilled Jennifer must be to experience real life in heaven and in the presence of her beloved Lord Jesus, I remembered I had scheduled for this week the following post with a theme of heaven. I hope it will bless you. And then I’ll close with Jennifer’s own words when her husband, Wayne, passed over into heaven in 2005. Her family posted her words on her Facebook page. Let this inspire all of us to have an eternal perspective, for this earthly life is so transitory.
Here is my post…
Larry and I recently became grandparents of … two doves. Or were we godparents? I’m not sure of the technical term but we felt like they were a part of our family. Who knows what we represented to those two little ones except big scary beings. Their momma taught them to stay very still if we went onto the patio to check on them.
Of course, we tried to be as inconspicuous as possible but since the parents chose our patio heater to set up their nest while we were out of town, we had no choice but to show up. Over time, we watched from the first time their tiny heads showed above the nest edge until the two were so big even one parent couldn’t sit on the nest with them. As they became bigger, we tried to keep an eye on them to see how the parents would teach them to fly.
We didn’t see much going on, only flapping their wings every once in a while, but one day when we weren’t watching—of course!—we heard a smack against our patio doors and noticed one of the baby doves was gone. Flown the coop, er, the nest.
We assumed the chick had flown into the glass and then taken off the right way.
We quickly realized why it had flown into the glass. From the view of the nest, since it was buttressed up against a wall, the chicks had never seen the real world. They had only seen the reflection of our back yard on the glass of the patio doors. As far as they were concerned, the future world was in the glass.
No wonder the dove smacked into the glass door. It was going the wrong way. It was deceived thinking it would find adult “life” one way but in reality it needed to head the other way.
Maybe that’s a part of what Jesus meant when he questioned “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
You and I only see glimpses, a poor reflection of heaven, in the goodnesses of earthly life. We see in a mirror dimly while Jesus offers real life in Himself.
Thankfully the chick turned the other way and flew out into real life. Who knows. Maybe momma bird cried out, “It’s the other way!”
The chick could have continued to try to fly into the glass but it would only have injured itself. The reflection was worthless for meeting its needs. Yes, earth does supply some of our needs as God chooses to provide, but all along God says, “It’s the other way!” to eternal life through a relationship with me. That’s real life.
Jennifer is no longer looking into the reflection of the glass. She is experiencing real life.
Here then are Jennifer’s words about her beloved husband’s passing into that glorious eternity:
“Wayne died peacefully at 1:00 pm. Brantley and I were with him. It seemed right that our 26+ year marriage would end with us sharing that last intimacy. Stinson and Kennedy came to the room just as he had taken his last breath.
Earlier in his illness, Wayne and I had time to muse on what the experience of dying might be like. We agreed it must be like a birth. Imagine a liitle baby in the womb. It’s the only world he knows. His universe is small and dark, but he doesn’t know that. Those of us out here in the big world think, “How crowded you must be. Why, your world can barely hold you! Every move you make leads you to boundaries. I’m sure you must be eager to come out into light and air.” But the little baby– he thinks he is in light and air. How amazed he must be when he pushes through the birth canal and encounters the big world.
Here on planet earth, we think we know Light and Air, but we only know the outside edges, a little caricature. How amazed we will be when we push through that eternal birth canal and find LIFE.
December 13, 2005. Wayne Dean was born.” –Jennifer Kennedy Dean