Eternity does not start with death. We are in eternity now.
- Norman Vincent Peale
I had seen a lovely couple at church each morning for years. Joe had a beautiful smile and, although aging and carrying oxygen, had an unmistakable zest for life, love and family.
Somewhere along the way Joe began to decline, but he was determined not to die or leave his wife and family. We watched as he struggled each day to get around with his walker, all the while smiling at everyone he passed. He continued to exercise and use his treadmill faithfully. His wife said he simply loved life so much, he had no intention of letting go any time soon.
Eventually when all treatments were deemed to be of no avail, he began to give in to God’s call and prepare to go home. He did not give up his determination to work out ever day, eat as well as he could and love deeply, as he always had, but he faced the reality of leaving with the same smile and determination he had always exhibited. His wife and family were with him constantly, assuring him of the great love he had given them and now they were simply giving it back to him.
As he was close to death, he strained hard to see something that must have appeared very far away. “There are so many of them everywhere,” he said, looking around the room smiling. “They are in the distance, hundreds of them.” He appeared happy they were there. He died a few minutes later.
Here was a man full of life, love and faith. God gave him the glimpse of heaven he knew would intrigue and delight him. He deals with us as if we were the only person in the world—that kind of love is not known to man, but it is the kind of love to which God calls us.