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A Far More Eternal Weight

A pastor was counseling a man who’d come to him in heavy trial. The man was fretful and downcast. Our pastor friend suggested to the man that he might be able to manage the burden of the trials more peaceably if he kept a noble eye focused on eternity and what the hope of heaven and the resurrection gives us. The man’s reply surprised him: “Heaven!” the man snapped, “I don’t need to think about heaven! I need some practical help for right here and now.”

Of course, the whole point of the pastoral counsel is that counting on heaven, according to the Scriptures, actually does give us practical help in our current struggles. We have hope that things will be set right, that faithfulness will be rewarded with the smile of the Lord, that earth does not have to be depended on to give us our final and settled happiness. We can wait patiently for it.

My son Peter knew this, and believed it, more dearly than some three times his age. With the many handicaps and setbacks he suffers right now, I draw comfort from his hope in the future. He settled it squarely last year when his godly gramma died. I recall keenly her last day on earth, she, sitting on the side of her bed with Peter’s lean young arm around her shoulders, cradling her frail frame next to his chest as he read the passage below to her. Here is the short remembrance of that moment that he recounted during his grandmother’s funeral last winter of 2010. I found it recently on the hard drive of my computer. I hope the Lord will use these brief thoughts Peter spoke to encourage your heart toward heaven as much as it did mine when I discovered it: It was entitled “Grandma’s Funeral.”

“As a grandson I could give many dear memories of my Grandma, many examples of her

gentleness, her faithfulness, her love, and her godly character. But one of my best memories of my Grandma is the last memory I have of her. I was blessed to be the last person to read Grandma the promises of God before she tasted their fulfillment in Heaven, which she is enjoying with her Lord right now.

“It was the day before she passed away, and my mom, my sister and I had come down to visit her. I was sitting on her bed with her, and she asked me to read to her. Naturally, she wanted me to read the Psalms to her. Psalms was always a favorite of Grandma’s. She specifically asked me to read Psalm 71. It occurred to me as I read this Psalm to Grandma that not only do these verses reflect the power and mercy of our Lord, it also reflects the legacy of grace that Grandma left us. No wonder she liked the passage so well. She left us a legacy of a long life of faithfulness, joy in the word of God, perseverance under trials, and triumphant hope of resurrection in Christ. Those are the things that I remember Grandma for.

“Let me read verses 17-21 of Psalm 71, the ones I read for her that day before she died: ‘God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again. From the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.’ Psalm 71: 17-21

“I pray that the Lord will give me grace to live up to the faithful heritage that Grandma has left me.”

– Selah

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