Within the past two months, several of my older Christian friends have passed on. Their lives on earth ended, and I won't see them anymore, or be able to talk with them.
I'll miss that.
I'll especially miss the one friend, because he was also a neighbour, and I enjoyed his friendship, and valued his forthright advice on anything from gardening, to the fine details of living the Christian life.
But that is the way life is.
I did not know that I would soon need to give up that friendship. Because I did not know he was going to die so soon. In fact, I had a lengthy visit with him, only a half hour or so before he passed away suddenly from heart failure.
We were talking about the things of God -- the blessings and challenges of the Christian's earthly walk. It was a good "last visit," and I treasure the memory.
I doubt if he knew that his time on earth was within a half hour of the closing bell.
Perhaps we would have talked about "more important" things, had we known that we only have 10 more minutes to talk in this life. But then, what is more important than mutual exhortation regarding "knowing God," and walking in the way of truth?
Would saying "goodbye" have been more important? It's nice to say goodbye, but no, I don't think that's the most important. After all, we're both Christians, and this parting is not forever. It's more like a short pause. Some day it will be my turn to cross that divide that he crossed over a short time ago. Then in heaven there will be a glorious perfection of the friendship what was begun here.
Perhaps he would have liked to say "goodbye." And knowing him, I'm sure he would have, had he had the time to do so. Because "goodbye" means "God be with you." That is what he would have said to all his family and friends he left behind. "God be with you -- I'm leaving now, but you will follow, by God's grace."
Perhaps you have had a similar experience. Death, after all, touches all of us at one point or another. Sadly, there are those people who pass out of life spiritually unprepared. Don't follow the example of those. But I hope you have had someone like my friend -- someone who has been an inspiration to you, and whose faith you can aspire to.
Follow their example.
That's what I want to do, by God's grace -- to follow the good example of my godly friend.
Thank you, brother, for being a mentor and spiritual guide to me. . . ."
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4
- Mervin Brubacher