We have a daily Bible verse on the sidebar of our blog.
When I read today's verse, I immediately thought of Joe White.
I didn't know Joe very well.
In fact, I have probably only had
a few casual conversations
with him in all the years
that he and his family attended Fairhaven.
But I knew of Joe White.
To me, he was Randy's dad.
He was the smiling man
and the faithful husband
who was always at his wife's side.
Bonnie is a believer,
a woman who loves Jesus,
but Joe was not.
It always amazed me that he
would sit in the services week after week,
hearing the gospel,
knowing that his son and his family were off serving
as missionaries in a foreign land,
but yet never bending the knee
or confessing Christ as Lord.
But then again, it shouldn't have really surprised me.
I certainly know what that was like.
I was raised in the church and heard the gospel,
but yet there was no fruit of repentance
in my life for many years.
A few weeks ago we heard on Facebook
from Joe's daughter-in-law Cindy
that he had had a stroke.
Given his age and how he had been affected,
his health was certainly precarious.
However, we were ecstatic to hear
that Joe had become a believer!
Some time in the past few years
Joe had accepted Christ.
Our prayers had been answered.
Joe's sins were forgiven.
He was saved!
This past Monday Cindy announced
that Joe's new address was in Heaven.
Joe White had passed from this life
and was now worshipping
his Lord and Savior face-to-face.
No more sorrow, no more sickness, no more aging--
only joy in the presence of his Maker.
How amazing it must have been for Joe
to finally meet in person the One
whom he had heard about for all these years.
Joe's family has been left behind
to mourn his loss.
When a believer dies,
it is such a paradox of emotions.
We miss them. We mourn. We grieve.
And yet we also know that this is only temporary.
Along with the sorrow, there is also joy!
There is the blessed certainty
--the Bible calls it "hope"--
that we WILL see our loved one again.
So we do not say, "Good-bye" to Joe.
Instead, we say, "Until we meet again."
"Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints."
For the family,