A very dear friend of ours went to be with the Lord last Sunday. It was most unexpected although we had seen that he was gradually losing weight and getting more feeble as the months went by. We can’t always choose the way we go, but we CAN choose where we go! You might ask how a person can be so sure of this.
Bill had lived a hard life, and was a real he-man. He had gone in for chopping competitions in his younger years and had worked his way up to being the New Zealand champion for some years….a fact that he very rarely talked about in later years. “That belongs to the old life”, he would say with a wry grin, and go on to talk of other things.
He had put everything he had into his axe chopping training and other things, including his family, had taken second place. It wasn’t until his wife nearly died after the birth of their youngest child, that he stopped to think about what would happen if he died. But like so many people, he brushed the thought aside.
He came across a young man in the course of his work, who would periodically sidle up to him and talk about the Bible. After some months of this, Bill began to wonder if there was really something in all of this. Around the same time, a Christian worker began to visit them in their home, and Bill became convicted of his need to do something about all this talk.
Meantime, his wife had turned to the Lord and was quietly, in her own way, showing him the difference in her life. One day, he was out in the bush in the course of his work, and really felt that God was with him there. He remembered a Bible story he had heard about a woman who obeyed what God told her and as a result she was able to save all her family from a sure disaster. He knew then that he could run away from God no longer, and so there in the bush, he confessed that he needed God in his life.
From then on, Bill was a different man. He showed love to his family in a way that he hadn’t before, and all his friends could see the difference in him. He left his job as he had a strong urge to devote himself to working with disadvantaged children and so they moved north to another area and took over running a children’s home for some years. After he retired from that, he took up delivering Sunday School lessons to children in out of the way places.
As he grew older, a lot of Bill’s friends and relations started dying off, and at the funeral services, Bill was often asked to speak. Being rather shy, he started learning devotional poems, and he would stand up and with a smile would recite these off. He had such a great manner with him, that no-one could take offence, and he got his message across in a way that others couldn’t have done.
Now he has gone. What a way he went! As usual, last Sunday he drove to the chapel he attended, a twenty minute drive through the town, went inside and greeted everyone. He sat down and commented that his hands were very cold. Then he gave a little gasp, and his head fell backwards, and he was gone. Just like that! Quietly, with no fuss, just as he had lived.
We know for sure that he is with his Lord….his life showed it in everything that he did. Will our family be able to know for sure where we are when we have gone? Because when this life is finished, our spirits and souls are still well alive, and it is up to us to leave our loved ones in no doubt where we are!