The Only Thing That Matters

December 12, 2018

Today we attended the encouraging and uplifting memorial service for my uncle, retired Pastor Clarence Driftmeyer. He and my Aunt Gladola have been tremendous influences in my life for all of my life. Throughout this day I have had many thoughts about death, the end of life, and the impact of life and death.

I suppose it is natural that I might have more than the normal thoughts, given that our family has experienced so much sorrow mingled with rejoicing and supernatural experiences of God’s grace over the past 30 months.

  • In August 2016, my sister Jean suddenly left us for heaven. It was a huge shock to all of us and the first big personal loss of its kind since 2008, when my mother left us by way of cancer.
  • In the early spring of 2017, my niece and nephew lost a baby girl, my mother’s name sake, before she had a chance to take a breath here.
  • My father was already not well when Jeannie died, and over the next months until September 16, we held his hands as well as we could and walked him home to heaven. It was my privilege to be with him, along with my brother J., as he breathed his last this side of heaven.
  • In November 2017, our son Caleb was in a tragic accident where a 14-year-old boy lost his life. The grief was so strong we could taste it for both Caleb, and for young Robert’s family, and for ourselves.
  • My sister Jean’s husband was in the hospital with sepsis when she died, and he never fully recovered. He got it again in early 2018, and spent months in the hospital trying to fight it. It was an excruciating fight, and he found release from his pain and reunion with Jeannie on June 19 this year.
  • In May, our much-loved Uncle Tommy Todd left this life.
  • Uncle Clarence joined the growing circle of family in heaven last week.
  • Sprinkled among them are numerous precious friends.

I can’t help but think about how brief life is. My little grandniece hadn’t even taken a breath outside her mother’s womb, yet the grief for her was deep and real. Her life was just as precious as my father’s, who had shared it with the world for 96 years. At its best, life here is short.

I can’t help but think about how good God is. Everyone of these people who were aware they were dying were given amazing dying grace from our good, good Father. As they neared their crossing, they became anxious for their new home. Their grip on this life loosened as they began to concentrate more on what was ahead of them. It made it much easier and so encouraging to see their hope, peace, and anticipation.

I can’t help but think about how life goes on. My Aunt Gladola has caroitoid artery surgery next week. No time to put it off. No matter how much we missed Jeannie, Dad—all of them, the sun came up the next morning, and there were people to love and be loved by. Life goes on, and as long as we are here, we need to matter.

I can’t help but think what a gift we have been given. These deaths have been hard. We greatly miss every one of these incredible people. But we have the absolute assurance in every case that these people had been forgiven of their sins by the Savior. They were living in close communication with Jesus, and we know for certain we will meet them again. We will never be separated again. What a gift! Nothing else matters now but that. I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience such a loss, and not have the certainty of heaven. It was wonderful beyond imagination for each of them to be ready for heaven, but such a selfless gift for them to make certain we knew for sure they were leaving us to be with Jesus.

Here’s my message for you and everyone I love. I want to share it and show it with my life. Jesus is my Savior. He loved me when I was completely unworthy, and He is slowly transforming me to be like Him. I will be with Him forever when I die, and I want you to be there too. Make the decision and live so everyone knows. There will be a day when it’s the only thing that matters.