I wish I were an artist. Here’s what I would draw: A close-up of a boy shyly holding out a small basket, offering it to Jesus, who reaches out to receive it with a twinkle in His eye and a smile on his face. He says, “Sonny, thank you for giving me your lunch. But just wait till you see what I do with it!” Later, he runs home shouting, “Mom, you know that lunch you sent with me? You’ll never believe….!”
This reminds me of our granddaughter Emmeline who went home to heaven three months ago. Late last year, she responded to a challenge: What would you do if you received $50 and would seek to multiply it as Jesus did with the loaves and the fish? Emmeline responded with an essay saying that she would buy materials to make cards (which she loved to do), sell them, and send the money to a missionary family in need. She was then chosen as one to receive the money. In the next couple of months she had doubled her investment.
As her health deteriorated and she was unable to keep up making all the cards, people from all over the world learned about her project and began sending money– usually one dollar bills, and a few 5s , 10s, and 20s and an occasional check—to put into her “Loaves and Fishes” fund. By the time Emmeline was in the arms of Jesus, the fund had grown to $9,000. She was just a conduit of God’s grace. Those who gave and those who received were privileged and blessed.
Yesterday I read through a bulletin which mentioned many different things God’s people are doing/offering around the world. Any one of these might seem so inadequate compared to the great needs, but each one is an important part of one beautiful tapestry God is weaving now that we’ll see someday.
So today I give my little lunch, my loaves and fishes, as I answer some e-mails, make reports, mentor someone, help a neighbor… I have no idea how God will use these things. That will be seen in heaven.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
People said it was the most amazing funeral they’d ever been to. At the visitation we family members all wore bright yellow t-shirts, our granddaughter Emmeline’s favorite color. It’s a color of joy and of the confidence we have that she is now enjoying the delights of heaven that we are all looking forward to. And when we get there, she will enjoy being our tour guide.
As the casket came down the aisle at the beginning of the service, her uncle (who happens to be a professional singer) opened our imagination with this song:
I dreamed of a city called Glory, so bright and so fair
As I entered that gate, I cried holy
All the angels met me there
They carried me from mansion to mansion
And all the sights I saw
I said I want to see Jesus, the One who died for all
I bowed on my knees and cried Holy, holy, holy
I clapped my hands and sang glory,
Glory to the Son of God
Glory to the Son of God
When I entered the gates of the city
My loved ones all knew me well
They took me down the streets of heaven
All the saints were too many to tell
I saw Abraham, Jacob and Isaac
Talked with Mark, sat down with Timothy
But then I said, I want to see Jesus, the One who died for me (by Bill Gaither)
After Emmeline’s “earth-suit” (as my brother calls it) was lowered into the earth, we celebrated the flight of her spirit into her heavenly home by releasing yellow balloons into the sky and watching until they were out of sight. Death is the last enemy but not the victor. Christ has defeated death, and we who are His participate in His victory!
This morning when I woke up, I did not pray for our terminally ill granddaughter as I have been doing. She is healed and happy—in Jesus’ arms, as of yesterday noon. I am deeply grateful for this assurance that she is no longer suffering, either here in her cancer-ravaged body or in some netherworld. My confidence is based on two things:
1) God’s promise of total and complete forgiveness for those who turn over their lives to Him and trust Jesus’ sacrifice to save them from the punishment we all deserve for our sins. (And yes, my sweet Emmeline was a sinner too.)
2) We have a note from Emmeline’s parents, dated April 2008, saying how she had made this decision to ask Jesus into her life. And her life bore out the character and Christ-likeness that He produced in her. She was a blessing to many.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)
I woke up this morning with joy, thanking God for 39 years of marriage to the most wonderful man in the world–my prince, my soul-mate, my best friend and lover and much, much more.
Then we got sobering news about our granddaughter who is terminally ill, and the tears came. The past few days have been rough as the tumor ravages her body. When we get back there after 2 1/2 weeks away, we’ll really notice the difference. Yet as our hearts grieve, we also rejoice in the confidence that God is good and loving, He is powerful and in control, He is wise and is working out all things in amazing ways we can only catch a glimpse of presently. But here’s one of those glimpses, written by her mother:
Last night she was coughing a lot. Firstly, she can’t make her self cough hard so she wasn’t able to clear her airways well, and then I felt like what she did cough up she couldn’t effectively clear from her mouth. So today, I called about getting a suction machine. Tonight she got chills all over, then she started throwing up mouthfuls when she coughed. It was 8:00 pm when I was thinking of taking her into the ER just to suction her, chest x-ray if needed, etc. when a man showed up at the door with the suction machine. What a relief. I couldn’t believe they got it here so quickly and even after “business hours”. What a gift from God.
And here’s another:
Last night a friend called and said she would like to bring a meal to us tonight. She ended up bringing the very thing Emmeline has asked to have for her birthday next week, tortellini soup and homemade rolls. My friend had no idea. So even though the eating was tough for Emmeline, she was very happy and it was a reminder to me of God’s personalized blessings for each of us.
In these bittersweet days, God’s love, power, and wisdom are our comfort. He is there for you, too!
I’m taking a break from my normal genre to share thoughts related to my eldest granddaughter, Emmeline, who will celebrate her 11th birthday in May. In God’s wisdom, He allowed her to be born with a brain tumor. In God’s providence, he has provided excellent medical care and financial help through all these years. In God’s goodness, he has supported her with an “army” of prayer supporters who have stood behind her faithfully. And now, still in God’s plan, a “growth” of some sort has appeared on her brain stem, triggering alarming symptoms.
Emmeline is an incredibly beautiful and sweet girl who loves the Lord, enjoys making greeting cards and treasures her friends. She is big sister to five younger siblings and enjoys the love and care of devoted parents. Most of all, she is loved by God—Who doesn’t make mistakes!
As our family heads into a new part of this journey with her, we pray that we can all keep our eyes on the Lord, leaning ever harder on His goodness, grace, provision, strength, and mercy. May He be glorified in Emmeline and her family no matter where this leads. And may those who watch be drawn closer to Him.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!