The Last Page and the First Page

This week, I attended a memorial service in which I celebrated the life of a dear friend. Barry died, at what seemed to me, before his time.

Yet, who am I to determine when the last page of his life should be written and what it should look like?

I’ve determined to trust God in this matter because I agree with the Psalmist who prayed, “My times are in Your hand”(Psalm 31:15).

God, whose wisdom is much greater and whose love is much deeper than mine, ultimately decides end of life issues for everyone.

During the last pages of his life, I had the honor of spending time with with Barry and his family. I was with them when they received the dreaded diagnosis–cancer. As the year progressed, we saw both miraculous answers to prayer and an unexpected setback.

Although he was not without some sadness, Barry faced death without fear. In the midst of pain, he had peace. In the midst of uncertainty, he was calm. In the midst of fatigue, he reached out to others. He knew and believed, as my following poem states, that Jesus has power over death.

Sometimes when reading a book of suspense,
I feel so anxious, so worried, so tense;

I turn to the back of the novel to see
If the ending is happy; I hope it will be!

In life when I’m tired, discouraged or sad,
I turn to the end of the book and I’m glad.

I see on the very last pages of life
Jesus is Victor; He’s conquered all strife.

His word is not fiction; it’s certain, it’s real.
Faced with this knowledge, with pain I can deal.

I join those through the ages who plainly can see
Jesus is greater than death even can be!

With courage, with hope, I go on–persevere.
Gods’ love is forever; my heart holds no fear!

I had the honor of being with them on the day Barry departed into heaven. The last page of his life became the first page of a different life for his wife Judy and their son Jason. Because their faith is in the same Jesus that he relied on, they are going through this transition with remarkable courage.

My faith has been strengthened by this dear family. I honor them and thank God for them. Because of them, the next pages of my life will be different.

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