Today would have been Frances’ 33rd birthday. It’s a shame she can’t be here to enjoy it. Some of us here are celebrating your birthday in her stead. I for one treasure the memories of the many birthdays we had together as a married couple. The other day I found the box of all the greeting cards we sent to each other that she kept for us. I’ll add it to all shrine I have set up for her here in her memory. Unfortunately I cannot afford a golden calf so the Mr and Mrs Potato head will have to do.
I feel I have think of her now as my sister-in-Christ, because that is what she is now. Our vows of marriage were never broken, but have now come an end with their natural conclusion. I thank God again for the 13 years I was blessed to be married to her but now God has allowed me a new relationship. Our family, what there was of it, is gone, but now I have been given the opportunity to start a new family again. God is calling me to be a patriarch again, and I cannot ignore His calling.
It really comes down to a choice. Do I chose to live in despair, and bitterness and resentment or do I chose to live in love? A grown man really has no place living with parents. I have to be that sort of man again. That godly man that you constantly referred to as a ‘good man’. “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:24 (NLT)
I recall the conversation we had with Pastor Gustafson about the selfishness I considered I’d have in my own personal grief, and while in his empathy he was adamant that it wasn’t selfish my stance hasn’t changed. Not the least of which is because I know full well that I will see her again. At the most I’m likely to be apart from her for no more than 40 years, which in the scheme of things is a very short space of time. And while her body is gone, and our marriage is over the most important aspect of our relationship will remain, that of being my best friend. Now that I have a new best friend, I am certain that I will always have a place for her in my heart.
There are those that have claimed that I am acting in an adulterous way of which of course I’m not, or that I am denial, but it seems to me that they, while they may claim to believe in Jesus Christ as their saviour are themselves denying the reality of everlasting life through His salvation. In that reality there is no need to live in despair, or fear, or hopelessness. I really should have heeded the warning established in Paul’s second letter to Corinth. "Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NLT)
I feel like I am Job establishing his life after going through terrible loss.“New honours are constantly bestowed on me, and my strength is continually renewed.” Job 29:20 (NLT) I felt like I was like Jonah, being ordered to Nineveh, but I now I realise I was in Nineveh all along and now I’m back home.
Born again Christians have a very different perspective on death than the unsaved. There is no certainty in death without Christ as your saviour. The last day I left Paradise Valley Baptist Church my pastor there said to me, “Shalom” instead of “Goodbye”. He explained to me, that our Jewish cousins may use that word. It means a lot more than just “Hello” or “Goodbye”. It also means peace, harmony, completeness, prosperity, and welfare. He used that term, because even though He knew full well that there was a good possibility that we’d never see each other again in this life, we would definitely see each other in the Kingdom of Heaven. Having that certainty gives you real peace and joy that is beyond the understanding of the lost. It means that losing someone that is saved means you will only ever be temporarily apart. You’ll be reunited again. In my experience the sting of separation is significantly more short lived when you know it’s only ever temporary. There is nothing quite like knowing His peace, and His security in His joy. Even in the worst of circumstances, knowing that He is there for you is always comforting.