All the days ordained for me came to pass on Sunday.
I slipped from this thing you know as life into that thing called death.
It was a surprise to me and to you that my body died that way.
But no surprise at all to God.
He knew before time began how my life would begin.
And how it would end.
He knew I would choose Him for myself.
And that I would become of follower of The Way.
He knew that I would choose to worship Him that day at a small Baptist church in Texas.
And He knew that a sin-soaked, sin-filled, hopeless man would decide that my life held no value.
But He also knew that the life that man took is not my real life.
That was just the earthly container that held the real me.
That man could harm my body.
But he could never harm my soul.
I guess you are thinking, “If God knew, why didn’t He stop it?”
He whispered to that man’s heart long ago about His love.
But that man rejected His love.
And in His kindness, in His goodness, He refused to make that man a robot.
He gave him the ability to choose.
And that man chose darkness over light.
You probably feel sorry for me.
But, oh, please don’t.
I have seen Jesus face to face.
As soon as my heart beat the last time, He held me in His arms and whispered, “Welcome home.”
And then He took me by the hand and led me to His Father, to our Father.
Who gave me another hug and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter our joy!”
And what joy it is has been!
David gave me the details of his fight with Goliath.
Lazarus explained what resurrection really feels like.
Moses showed me what manna looks like.
And Queen Esther and I just hung out and chatted for a while.
I hugged my Grandpa for the first time in years.
And met my great, great grandparents for the first time.
But the best part has been hanging out with Jesus.
Asking my questions.
And soaking in His love.
So, yes, it was a surprise to face a gunman in my church the other day.
I had no idea that Sunday was the day I would transition from death to life.
That man thought he was doing something horrible to me, to us.
But his evil actions brought me to this place, to my home, to no sin, sickness, death or tears.
And I am so glad to be here.
So don’t mourn for me.
Miss me, sure.
But don’t spend your energies on what might have been.
Don’t cry because I am absent from you for a little while.
Instead, weep for all those who do not have hope.
Weep for the men, women and children across the globe who will not have this when they die.
Weep for those who do not know and have not heard about eternal life in Christ.
Spend your energy telling the world about Jesus.
Show them they have a choice – a choice to choose the Kingdom of Light over the kingdom of darkness.
Love them until they ask you why.
Channel your anger about this – about all horrors – against the enemy of our souls.
Stop fighting each other and fight him instead.
Stop living for yourself and seek first God’s Kingdom.
Stop thinking this life is all there is.
And get busy shining.
Being a light on a hillside city in a dark, dark night.
Changing the world one redeemed sinner at a time.
Sharing with them what you already know.
That there is hope.
That there is real life.
That there are real answers.
And real power to live a holy life.
That is the only way to bring peace on earth.
The only way that hearts are changed.
He is the only One – and the Only Way – to turn sorrow into joy, mourning into dancing, and death into life.
So do not weep for me.
Because I am good.
In fact, I am better than I have ever been.
I’ll see you soon.
And until then, keep shining.