Psalm 116:15 says: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." KJV
The New International Version reads: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants."
The New Living Translation puts it this way: "The Lord cares deeply when His loved ones die."
The Message Bible paraphrases it like this: "When they arrive at the gates of death,
God welcomes those who love him."
We can easily list the people in our lives who are precious to us. How reassuring it is to know that God considers all of us who love Him to be precious.
For the last 8-10 years of my daddy's life, my brother, sister, and I enjoyed his weekend emails. His title was usually "Stuff," and he would fill us in on his activities from the week before and the ones he had coming up in the days ahead. We would "Reply All," and that began a habit that has continued with the three of us since he died. Invariably, his emails would include the health statuses of his friends and the funerals he had attended. For quite a while, he and his wife June divided their time between Troy (where friends and her children were) and Athens (where his children, old friends, and relatives were). He kept a "good suit" in both places, so he'd be ready when a funeral took place.
In more ways than one, I am my daddy's daughter. Now my children are experiencing my lists of long-time friends who are ill, or they hear about the funerals of people they remember from church when they were very young.
People connected to First Baptist Church in Hartselle have lost some dear saints in recent months and years -- Martha Taul, Gwen Wesson, Jody Wilson, Brooks Barkley, Bob Jaques, Joe Howell, and others. Those people made a huge impact on my life during the time when Steve and I were rearing our children and working in Hartselle.
Yesterday I attended the memorial service for Charles Quinn. It is rare for a church to be full for the funeral of an 89-year-old, but it was full yesterday. Charles didn't just influence me, but he made a difference to every person in that room, most importantly to his dear wife Mary of 66 years, his 4 remarkable children, and his 12 grandchildren. Four of the grandchildren read some of his favorite scripture passages, and each of his children shared memories of their daddy. Over and over, we all heard the words "loving," "patient," "generous," "caring," "humorous," "devoted," "sharing," "dedicated," "honest," "trustworthy," and "living his Christian faith." Anyone who believes in salvation through Jesus, heaven, and eternity is confident that Charles is with Jesus right now, and that assurance gives peace and brings hope.
I was not surprised by any of the words spoken by Charles' children. Instead, I was inspired and challenged by their words. If my three children speak at my funeral, what words will listeners hear?
Charles' favorite Bible verse was Psalm 19:14 -- "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer."
Charles LIVED that verse. It was an important reminder for me to do the same. Thank you, Charles, for 50 years of setting a consistent, godly example to me and my family.