There’s no doubt about it. Processing the impending death of a loved one is hard, really hard, as we stand helplessly by watching life ebb away. A few years have passed since I last committed a loved one into Jesus’ arms, but I know of some who still struggle with the acceptance of God calling their loved one home.
When my friend’s mother was taken into hospice care, my friend shared with me what I believe to be the most comforting word picture I have ever heard concerning a loved one’s home-going. I would like to share it with you. Maybe you will find it comforting and worthy to pass on to someone who is still struggling with letting a loved one pass on.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just as the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!”, [t]here are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying. by Henry Van Dyke
Somehow I found great comfort in this unique picture of a loved one leaving for the glorious reward that awaits each one who is called a “child of God”. He eagerly awaits our arrival. Heaven is a reward not a punishment. (1 Corinthians 2:9) As we watch our loved ones go on before us, we can take heart and bravely anticipate the reunion when our turn comes to receive the reward of God’s heavenly kingdom.
Do you know someone who could use a beautiful, peaceful word picture to help bring them hope and support during the painful anticipation of a loved-one’s home-going? Please share gently and with the leading of our compassionate Lord.