Better By Far

October 17, 2020
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Listen while you read: "The Beautiful Garden Of Prayer"1 (Lyrics)

Do you have a bucket list of things that you have never done but want to do before you die? This list could consist of places to see, goals to achieve, or adventures to be had. I have had a full and exciting life, and should God call me home at any moment, I would have no regrets of missed opportunities here on earth.

Last spring at the beginning of our pandemic crisis, I wrote a devotional about a loving and generous Ukrainian immigrant family who offered free delivery of homemade soup to anyone in my community who asked. Their desire was to express their gratitude to a country that had welcomed them over 20 years ago when they arrived with nothing in their pockets. They also wanted to share their love of God with their neighbours.

Mama Anna's 88-year-old mother also lived with Anna and her husband, and delightedly watched the whole process of the soup making from the sidelines. Apparently, Grandma had felt that her life had not been terribly exciting. (In my opinion, leaving Ukraine and immigrating to the USA would count for plenty of excitement.) She had previously told her family that she would be thrilled if she could just be on television once or something exciting like that!

This soup story was suggested as a news lead to one of our local television stations, and a short news clip about the family and their project was shown on the evening news one night. As the family was being interviewed for the news clip, sitting next to Mama Anna, quietly smiling, was Grandma. So Grandma — at the very end of her long life — got her "15 minutes of fame" and her very special wish! But Grandma was aging and failing with the passage of time, and — a couple of weeks after the news clip was on television — died the day after her 89th birthday.

It does seem satisfying that, at the very end of her life, Grandma was able to experience something that she had really wanted. But we, who, like Grandma, know Jesus and have the confidence of heaven awaiting after death, know that the best — by far — is yet to come.

Philippians 1:21-23 – For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. (NLT)

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, please give us strength and grace to live our lives well here on earth, while we eagerly look ahead to eternal life in heaven. May we serve You faithfully until the day that You call us home. Amen.

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About the author:

Gail Lundquist <>
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you, Gail, for this touching story as an example for us to look forward to heaven.

    Thank you, Gail, for sharing this dear family memory in a devotional with us. Blessings.

    Your devotion today brought tears to my eyes. What a WONDERFUL story!! Thank you.

    Gail, Amen to the best is yet to come. What a sweet illustration with giving the community soup.

    Hi Gail
    I enjoyed your devotional today. Thanks.

    Thanks for this devotional, full of hope in “hopeless” times.
    Bless you,
    (BC Canada)

    Amen Gail.
    Thanks for sharing.
    To live is Christ and to die is gain. It’s a great thing to serve the Lord.

    Oh Gail, what a wonderful message today!
    This line particularly spoke to me as I identify 100%:
    “But we, who, like Grandma, know Jesus and have the confidence of heaven awaiting after death, know that the best – by far – is yet to come.”
    Thank you for your meaningful prayer as well.
    God Bless.

    Dear Gail,
    Thank you for sharing this delightful story. I remember the one you posted in the spring about this lovely family and how nice grandma got her wish before she died.
    Also, I do enjoy reading your Devotionals, so please keep writing them.
    Keep safe, and God Bless.
    (Manitoba, Canada)

    Your beautiful devotion about sharing the soup with the hungry really touched me.
    It demonstrated that in the middle of chaos, we remain Jesus’ hands and feet to those in need.
    Your writing is powerfully beautiful!
    I look forward to the day when we dine together enjoying that wonderful soup with our Heavenly Host.
    Stay well!

    Thank you, Gail. God has used you to respond to my question to Him in my quiet time this morning. This afternoon I am attending the funeral of a young man. It was his wish to live to his birthday and he died on that day.
    I have felt a burden of grief for the parents and family all week. I was going to the funeral with a very heavy heart. But Philippians 1:21-23 has lifted my spirit and given me something to offer to the family, who are believers. Something to refocus on. Saying can sound trite. Reading it in His word has a very different effect. Bless you and bless Robin. How God uses us! Amazing, eh? So, thank you both for your obedience.

    Being in those later years I especially appreciate both the story and the message.
    Thank you.

    Gail, I loved this. Thank you.


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