May 23, 2010

The End of an Era

The funeral service for my wife's grandpa was exactly a week ago today. Needless to say it was a difficult few weeks watching him lose his battle with COPD as a result of emphysema. Traveling back and forth from hospital to nursing home, Indianapolis to Richmond, began to take its toll. Emotional and physical exhaustion had set in and yet spiritually, there was not only peace but strength.

Richard Bell Luellen was 87yrs old when he died and had quite a life. He experienced serving in the Navy; starting Luellen Brothers Inc, a family business with his older brother (who just turned 90yrs old and is still getting around on his own); and raising a strong family down to his great-grandchildren. And of all the great things grandpa had done the thing that proved to be the most meaningful, especially during these past few months, was his faith.

I was moved by the number of people that came to his memorial and the support this small farming community gave to his family. I was moved to see how much and how many people respected this man but what I found most meaningful was the impact the family's faith had throughout this entire ordeal. Were there tears? Of course. Sadness? Obviously. Yet within that there was an assurance that granted "peace that transcends all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) because of faith in the God who has conquered death through Christ. My heart breaks for those who must suffer through the pain of losing a loved one without this faith and the knowledge of the promise Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 4:13-18,

It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.