In the case of my friend, she was quite elderly and over the last 30 years or so, had developed one painful medical condition after another. Over time, she adapted and adjusted to the intense physical pain she was in but just getting up every day was often a literal physical battle for her. Quite crippled up from arthritis and various other problems, she'd also developed an intestinal disorder that left her with surgeries and eventually a colostomy bag. She never did fully recover from the last surgery and often commented that she was dizzy and felt "out of sorts" most of the time. On more than one occaision she mentioned that she was truly ready to be done with this life and go home to the Lord, were it not for her dedication to her husband and her family. She was a good wife, and even in her tremendous physical pain would often be found in the kitchen making a meal for her elderly husband who was as devoted to her and their family as she was to him. She was always tired, but never too tired to look after her loved ones.
I wondered the other day, after I heard that she had finally passed from this life, how incredible it must have been for her to wake up in the next life, completely pain free. She had learned to live with pain, and pain medication for so long, it had been ages since she really knew what a pain free life was like. Not only did she wake up last week pain free, but she woke up medication free, and cares of this world, free. She was of course a believer, and when she left this world and all it's troubles, she entered into Heaven for all eternity. Of course I wont know until it's my turn, but I just wonder what that experience is like to realize for the very first time that the battle is over, the race is done, that you are absent from the body and present with the Lord. Forever!
It's a truly bittersweet thing when a saint is called home. You miss them because they are a part of your life that has been removed, but you truly do rejoice for them because their painful time here is now over forever. I'll miss her phone calls, and I'll miss hearing her telling me about her family's joys and trials. But I'll remember all the great conversations we had, the way she doted over my kids and how she loved to discuss the Bible. She struggled with a lot of things, but she held on tight to her faith and she was a great example to me in many ways, of someone who keeps looking up and keeps on persevering no matter how hard life becomes. The tears I cry for her now are purely selfish tears, and I know she'd understand that.
Goodbye for now dear Geordie, you fought the good fight, you ran the race set before you, and may you now truly rest in His peace, for all eternity. I'll see you again some day, when He calls me home.