Friday, October 11, 2013
A Visit to the Hospital & My 25th Wedding Anniversary
This morning Matt and I visited a very sick friend, Ray Bell, in the hospital. His wife Linda is a dear friend of mine, and I want so desperately for her to have more time with him on this earth. I've rarely witnessed two people more perfect for each other. Ray & Linda fell in love the first time they met and are still in love today.
Last night Ray had a vision of Jesus. The Lord told him to come on home. He saw Linda’s mom and dad (both deceased) standing behind Jesus, waiting for him with happy faces. At 6 am this morning, Ray told Linda that he was done fighting, and he was ready to go home. She thought he was talking about their house, but after he shared his vision of Jesus with her, she knew what he meant by "home." He wanted her to call all his loved ones and say his last goodbyes. We felt very privileged to be on his “loved ones” list and to pray with him and his family, perhaps for the last time. Only Jesus knows.
Being in ministry, we’ve met with several people over the years that are hovering between this life and the next. When you walk away from those precious encounters, you can’t help but evaluate your life. The Bible says our life is “a mist, a vapor”. This life is so temporary. Am I living for what really matters? Am I taking people in my life for granted?
One strange thing about life—while one person is in the midst of a painful trial another person might be in a time of celebration. That is the case with us. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary on Monday, and we are going to celebrate BIG tonight—our usual date night is going to another level! We’re eating at one of our favorite restaurants that we hit every 10 years—Ruth Chris Steakhouse. After that, we’re going to see a movie. We love going to the movies. I told Matt—no flowers and no card necessary. I just want to have fun with you.
You see, when I'm with Matt, I'm in my happy place. I'm home. I've told him before, the best thing about being married is that whenever change comes, we go through it together. If we move, you're still here. If the kids leave, you're still here. If we lost our jobs, we'd still have each other.
I’m so very grateful for the years we’ve had together. I don’t want to take my husband for granted. He’s my best friend, my love, my pastor, and my biggest supporter. Even this morning, he gave me another reason to love him. Before the crack of dawn, our dog got sick all over the stairs, and he let me stay in bed while he got up and cleaned the carpet. Then, he went ahead and steam-cleaned all the stairs. Now that’s a good man.
He’s also a wonderful father to our 3 children. I also realized this morning that I don’t want to miss out on one moment with my children. They are my joy and delight. Now that my oldest son is grown and gone, I’ve become acutely aware of how quickly this “raising kids” stage of life goes by. Oh, how fast it goes by . . .
Relationships are the only thing in life that matter, because they are the only things from this life that we take into eternity.
But the most important relationship on this side of Heaven is our relationship with Jesus. He is waiting with open arms for Ray. How wonderful that Jesus appeared to Ray, reassuring both he and Linda that it was ok to let go. The presence of Jesus is the ultimate home. One day He will welcome me home too.
Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice. *
*“Oh, I Want to See Him” by R.H. Cornelius (1916)