Jeff died on Friday.
It's so weird to type that. And sad. Even though we weren't close friends, I will miss him. I will miss him at home group. He knew and believed the word of God, and was eager to share a scripture that spoke life into a situation. He did that for me many times, as I shared about things I was struggling with. He often led our group in prayer, and he approached the throne of grace with confidence that God would come through in any and every situation. I will miss hearing him talk about his sons...he was so proud of them, and was dedicated to speaking the truth to them and planting the Word in their hearts.
I will miss seeing him in church - always with a huge smile on his face! Dancing with his baby in his arms during worship, boldly sharing a word that he felt the Lord had put on his heart to share with the body of believers. The way he always looked at Lori. He attended to her like she was a precious jewel and it gave me hope that I would have that someday.
I found out about his death on Friday night, and even though it wasn't a surprise it is still shocking. It is just so unbelievable that someone so young and vibrant and alive could be gone - in an instant. I went to see Lori the next afternoon and she was amazingly strong. She invited me into their room and we sat on her bed and talked...pictures of she and Jeff and the boys all around. I of course started crying, and just as she had done in the hospital, she was comforting me! That's the grace of God right there. She assured me that her faith is still strong. Even though she was believing God to heal Jeff and He didn't, she still believes. And next time she needs to believe in healing for someone, she will.
I pray for faith like that.
Nick came along to the visitation and funeral. I left it up to him, and he wanted to be there. I"m so proud of him, he's so grown up! It was rather shocking for him and he's processing through alot of thoughts and emotions right now...wondering who Lori and her boys will sit by in church, and wondering if something will happen to his own dad now.
He was a little freaked out viewing the body, although he didn't show it at the time. We talked about it the night before and I tried to prepare him for what to expect. Afterwards, he talked alot about how it didn't look like Jeff. I explained that the part of us that is alive is our spirit, not our body. Our body is just skin and bones and blood, it is not alive but it is a house for our spirit. Kind of like a shell is the house for a snail. When we die, our spirit leaves our body just like a snail leaves it's shell. Jesus tenderly comes and brings our spirit to Heaven. It doesn't hurt and it's not scary because Jesus is there caring for us. And when we get to Heaven and see God face to face, it's not wonder that we don't want to come back!
We are home.
2 Corinthians 5:1-8
Our Heavenly Dwelling
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.