I almost turned around and went back up north to see Ron again yesterday. I got to thinking about what I wrote about in yesterday’s Catch — how I went there for myself, to renew the blessing I received from him years ago — that maybe I need to go again, focused on him this time, and his family and their needs. Ron is such a big person in so many people’s lives that I can imagine everyone going to see him hoping for one last touch from him. I think we may need to also focus on giving that last touch instead of just receiving it. Besides, of all people, I should know that whatever I’ve received from Ron is not coming from him anyway, it’s coming from the Lord in and through him, and the Lord doesn’t need Ron to bring it. How many times have we said it recently: Everything from God; nothing from us. God is not dependent on any one of us. He can use anyone. And Ron would be the first one to tell us this.
Now that I think about it, everyone in the immediate family seemed to be doing so well, and it’s true, when you are being held up by your faith, there is real strength. But sooner or later, everyone’s going to find out what it’s going to be like without him, and for someone who took up as big a space in life as Ron did, that’s not going to be easy. I’m sad to report that I just assumed they were all okay and I never asked. We need to be there for those who are left behind. It’s like Ron gets a personal rapture and the rest of us get left behind.
I’m thinking of Larry Norman’s song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” It may be that in death for the believer, the one who is dying is the most ready, and the ones who are left behind are the most challenged. Certainly being left behind is painful regardless of your faith. No matter how much you think you are prepared for it, there is no way you can fully anticipate what it’s like to encounter the body of a loved one who is no longer at home in this “tent.”
We need to be ready. Whether we are facing our own death, the death of a loved one, or the return of Christ, it’s all the same. We need to get ready. It’s easy; just turn to the Lord and you’re ready.