Thursday, January 05, 2006

Aunt Rachel

Aunt Rachel died a few days before Christmas. She wasn’t my aunt. In fact, I never met her. I heard about her though, from my friend Linda, her niece. Aunt Rachel never had children of her own, but she mothered all the children in the family. She loved Jesus and served others. She fasted and prayed. In spite of all the hardships she experienced, she kept a great attitude. She was an inspiration and a beacon of love to her family.

She was diagnosed with cancer just months ago. Her small form faded to skin and bone. “It won’t be much longer now” Linda told Billy and me a few weeks ago. “We’re going to visit Aunt Rachel this afternoon.”

Linda had only been at her side for a few minutes that day when Aunt Rachel began to whisper. “Light,” she said. “Light.” Only moments before too weak to speak, now with one hand she shielded her eyes against the brilliance that only she could see, and with her other, reached toward heaven. Then she slipped away in perfect peace.

When Linda told me about it that night, tears came to my eyes. I thought of the verse that says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Aunt Rachel lived a faithful life. Although she had no idea, the ripples of that life reached out and touched me, even in her death. What more powerful evidence of heaven than one who’s on her way there and can ever-so-briefly tell us what she sees? What greater earthly tie to eternity than those who have gone before, who have stepped over what they realize in the last moments of life is really a narrow line that separates us from another Country? In her death, Aunt Rachel renewed my hope and infused my life with a fresh view of heaven—one I knew but had forgotten. One day I’ll not only see my Savior Jesus, but also those who have gone before—my grandparents, the sister I don’t remember, my babies who died before birth, the godly friends and friends of friends who have already made the journey. I’ll get to meet Aunt Rachel then. And I’ll thank her.

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