John Hill Aughey said that “death to the Christian is the funeral of all his sorrows and evils, and the resurrection of all his joys” and I believe that today, my grandmother is praising God in heaven, knowing more joy than any of us has known while living. She not only ran her course, but ran it faithfully and in love. On the day of her passing, the tears that came forth sprung up from shame and guilt and sorrow, but upon realizing her new position spiritually with the Father, the tears ran dry and the appreciation of her life on Earth began sinking in.
My grandmother was really one of the most loving people I’ve known in my entire life. Before the chains of age claimed her physical body, she poured her heart into serving our family, making meals and taking care of the grandchildren, doing it all out of a seemingly limitless love. Looking back on her life, I realize that she really knew the difference between 房子 (house) and 家 (home); she understood that for the former to become the latter, the warmth of love needed to be present. She would always welcome family, and strangers too, with a laugh and the greeting, “Oh, you’ve come!” There was rarely a time where she did not offer snacks to her guests and never a time where she did not warmly regard those who came to her home, making sure that they felt at home. I believe that she lived the reality of the difference between 房子 (house) and 家 (home) not only in the physical family life, but also in her spiritual life, creating a real home, founded on love, for the Lord to come and live in. I remember seeing her, in her old age, still holding onto the memory verses that the Chinese-speaking saints distributed, repeating the words to herself and attempting to commit them to memory; though memory slowly deserted her, she never deserted the Lord’s precious Word. Romans 14:8 says, “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” In all aspects of her life, my grandmother lived as the Lord’s and she died as the Lord’s as well.
To close, I’ll finish with a quote from Samuel Rutherford: “Ye have lost a child; nay, she is not lost to you, who is found in Christ; she is not sent away, but only sent before; like unto a star which, going out of sight, does not die and vanish, but shines in another hemisphere.” My grandmother is now that star that has gone before, shining in the hemisphere of heaven before God.