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Archive for July 30th, 2016

Dear Friends,

Last week was my father-in-law’s memorial, a celebration of his life. It was a sad event yet I am happy to know that we will see him again in heaven. During the whole time we were at the memorial event, I pondered on the similarities that these two major life events—a wedding and a funeral—have in common.

A wedding takes a long time to plan yet the day goes so fast when it finally arrives. We live through the day and everything seems like it’s really not happening. But during the wedding we take tons of pictures and we hire professional photographers to capture those moments—every moment we can. We hope to remember the wedding day forever as we try to imprint certain memories in our brain as if it were a memory chip.

Planning a funeral takes a lot of time too but in most cases we don’t have the same length of time to plan it. Everything has to be done quickly like the last two weeks in a wedding—the last minute thousand things that need to get done so everything is perfect for that day. The difference here is that when planning a wedding we’re full of excitement and anticipation versus planning a funeral when we’re grieving our loved one. When the day of the funeral arrives, it also goes so fast and it feels like we’re in a daze going through the motions that we only hope we remember later. However, we seldom take pictures at a funeral so the memories are only stored in our brains and hopefully in our hearts forever.

In a wedding, we usually shed tears of happiness as we welcome a new member into our families. At that moment, our family grows and hopefully it also grows in love for one more person. In a funeral, we usually shed tears of sadness as we say goodbye to one of our family members. At that moment, our family shrinks and our hearts cry out for the love we had for that special person we just lost.

But just as in a wedding, when we are gaining one more person into our family, when our loved one dies who knew Christ, then he or she is not lost. Our loved ones are simply moving on, “passing” from earth to heaven. Going to be with our Creator for eternity. That’s why when I know that the person we are burying had a personal relationship with Jesus, despite the sadness, I feel peace and calm in my heart knowing for sure I will see that person again later when my turn comes. That’s also why I feel a sense of urgency to share Jesus with everyone I love. It is the only way that I know I will see that person again and that we will spend eternity together with our Father.

On the practical side, we all know how expensive weddings are. Well, funerals are just as expensive depending on what the family wants to do and how our loved one’s wishes are fulfilled. It is easier to save for a wedding because it has a set date. It is not easy to save money for a funeral because we have no idea when our time will come. So with this experience, being the first of our parents to leave us, I learned a lot and hope to plan a little better for my own funeral. My father-in-law made a lot of decisions prior to his departure and that helped us a lot when making decisions on our own.

Just as a wedding is the beginning of new life for the couple, a funeral is the new beginning for the person leaving us. It’s a new beginning with the Father in heaven, for eternity. As Christians, it’s the only hope we have precisely—to see our loved ones again and live with them together in heaven for eternity with our Father. This is exactly what Jesus came to do. God sent His only one Son to die for us on the cross and His reward was humanity!

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) says, …”And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.”

The joy of the reward, which was the entire humanity restored to God for eternity, was what kept Jesus going and how He endured the death on the cross—for us!

So, whether it’s a wedding or a funeral, what matters most is how much God loves us and how much we love others. Make sure you tell the people you love that you love them and share Jesus with them.

 

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