|As I look at sweet Ali, my heart is gripped with love so strong. A love that longs to hold her in my arms, protect her, comfort her. A love that promises to grow through the years, endure trials, quarrels and distress. Sweet, sweet Ali, innocent, fragile, so utterly dependent on the adults around her --- it’s so easy to love her. She hasn’t done anything to deserve my love, but it doesn’t matter, for I love my baby niece so fiercely.
I’ve just left my best friend Teri. A few hours ago, she breathed her last, after 2 weeks of wrestling with the pain of cancer. It was a peaceful transition and Teri, as well as family and friends were all prepared for the moment. Teri was eager to meet her Shepherd; has reconciled with people and relatives to the point where she could confidently claim complete healing of emotions and relationships. Yet, when the moment came that she had to go home to our Lord, tears were hard to hold back. I knew she was going home, to our real home where there is no pain and the streets are paved with gold. I knew she was going home to our Lord, our Creator and Shepherd, the Lover of our souls. The Bible says that we will experience inexplicable joy and unshakeable peace. But these are just verses and thoughts to me.
Now, looking at sweet, baby Ali, I couldn’t help but yearn to hold her in my arms, kiss her and comfort her. If I, an aunt, could feel such strong love for my niece, how much more our heavenly Father? The Lord in His wisdom and loving comfort brought me from a moment of death and grief to a moment of joy and new life. My Lord was so gracious to give me a glimpse of the yearning and joy He has for us --- the longing to have us home with Him, the love so strong that He gave His Son to die for us. Just as I yearned for sweet Ali, so does God yearn for us. Just as eager as I was to hold Ali in my arms and let her know that I love her, so does God want us to experience His love.
Just as excited as I was to see Ali, so does God eagerly await to welcome Teri home and hold her in His arms. What a beautiful new life --- eternal life. Truly, death has lost its sting!