Saturday, March 28, 2015
BONUS ROUND!--by Linden Malki
We often learn things about people at the end of their earthly lives that enrich our memories and our understanding of life. We see the term "Celebration of Life", an appropriate description of the gathering of friends and family to say a final farewell. I have been to several such services in the past two months, and they all fit this description. They were people that I had known in various ways; several though the church, as well as family members. Something that they all had in common was that in the last ten or fifteen years they had all had new and happy doors open in their lives. Two had remarried after a long-time good marriage that had ended in a loss. My nephew remarried in his 50's; she was a beautiful, vibrant lady who, despite an illness, gave him fourteen years of happiness and many great memories. One friend had survived changes and found peace in her life. My brother-in-law had not only survived major health issues but had seen closed ministry doors lead to new and amazing opportunities.
At Roland Kelley's service yesterday, I heard several friends and relatives say that they had never seen Waneta as happy as she had been in her last years with Roland--a truly blessed and surprising fifteen years. And Red and Dona Yetter were obviously good for each other. I am reminded of a friend of my parents' at our church in Spokane; she was a widow in very poor health. Among the church folks watching out for her was a widower, and they got married. It made made an amazing difference; she was back on her feet and in church every Sunday for another 16 years and I recall the bright flowered dresses and hats she liked to wear. God can give his people surprises, and can bring inspiring loves and years beyond expectation and logic.
In the midst of all the homegoings, I was privileged to see another kind of second chance. My daughter remarried in January, and I have never seen a smile on her face as big as the one in her wedding pictures. He is a sweet, godly man and a great addition to the family.
We are coming up on the greatest story of God's surprises: Jesus' followers were preparing their own final service to their leader, when everything changed. God showed that death is not the end; that His answer to our troubles and mourning is victory over sin and death. He offers us not only more than we imagine, but more than we are able to imagine! He offers us release from sadness, from time itself; from all the imperfections and shortcomings of our human selves, just as a sunrise is more beautiful through the clouds.
Let us look forward to identifying with the events of the upcoming Holy Week, finishing with HIs sacrifice and then the realization that everything changed with the miracle of Easter morning!