Today we said goodbye to a very good friend. Marcia was a member of our church family for many years. Her love for Jesus and faithfulness in serving others were unparalleled. This begs the question, “If God is all-powerful and all-loving how could He allow this to happen?”

What I have learned over the years is that to try to make sense of things like this is a mistake. It only takes you down a dark path of confusion that will work to distance you from the Lord. I am as disappointed and angry as anyone. We fought for her life and did not get the results we wanted. Doing her funeral was hard. Assuming to have the answers is unhelpful. But here are two things that I have found over thirty-five years of ministry that truly are helpful:

1. You must turn your Why into Worship.

This is what the Lord told me to tell another grieving family in our church years ago. It saved their spiritual lives and has saved mine multiple times since.

2. Celebrate what your friend, or family member, is experiencing now. Here are three things I thought of this morning as I was preparing for the service:

1. Marcia is in God’s Permanent Presence!

If you knew Marcia, this was her favorite place – the Presence of Jesus.

On this side of heaven, experiencing the tangible presence of Jesus is fleeting at best. Even if you have a full-on encounter with the Lord, which I have numerous times, they only last for a moment, hours, or days at best. Then they dissipate. But Marcia is in His permanent Presence now and forever. Hallelujah!

2. Marcia is experiencing God’s Perfect Peace.

Marcia suffered while on this side of heaven for more than a decade. But that is all over now. She has never been more alive or experienced the kind of perfected peace she is right now. And it is forever. No more pain. No more tears. No more suffering. Praise God!

3. Marcia is experiencing the Lord’s Pleasure.

Marcia lived to please the Lord. She loved Him with all her heart, and she served Him by serving others. No one out-served Marcia! One of the things that she hated the most about the limitations of her battle with Cancer was her inability to serve others. But, without a doubt, she stored up a tremendous amount of rewards in heaven for her years of service. Certainly, upon her entrance to heaven, she heard Jesus say, “Well done, Marcia! Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

My question to you today is, what are you living for? What is your life about? This life is temporary. Heaven is eternal. Are you living for this side of heaven, or for the day you meet Jesus face to face?

I want to encourage you today to spend your life loving Jesus and serving others as Marcia did. If you will, you too will hear, “Well done!”

John