Listen to this devotional:
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.