Rejoicing Even in Sorrow

Over the weekend I left my home and family to travel to northern Indiana for a funeral. My Grandma Judy (affectionately called G-ma J) suffered the death of a husband for the second time in her life. Nuelan “Nute” Rehlander passed away June 11th, 2013, unexpectedly.

Now Nute had only been a part of my family for a short period of time. He married my grandma only about three years ago. But in that time, Nute became one of us. We loved him. We loved how happy he made my grandma. He cared about us, checked in on us, prayed for us, and showed interest in our lives. We were all looking forward to getting to know him better.

I could talk about his service in the Navy, or his faith, or his family, but honestly, I’ve been thinking mostly about how I’ll miss his youthful confidence, sense of humor and his genuine love for people, especially for my G-ma J. I’ve been thinking about how he courted her with flowers and a teenage like excitement. I’ve been thinking about how he always wanted to know how my family was doing, and not just “Hey how have you been?” but asking deeper questions and really wanting to know. I can only pray that I can leave behind such sweet memories and such a positive impact in the lives of the people around me as Nute did with all of us.

Spending this past weekend with Nute’s family was a blessing (please keep them in your prayers). He was remembered fondly. They told stories of his steadfast character, his wit, his humor. He was a great father and husband. He was celebrated, and the end of his life brought people together and glorified the God Nute loved. There was rejoicing in our sorrow. Rejoicing in the life of Nute, in the privilege of knowing him, and in God’s mercy to give us the comfort of knowing that Nute is at peace with Him.

There was one verse that God used this weekend to remind me of where Nute is now and where I will one day be, and I’ll end with that. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

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