Perhaps it seems to a regular reader of this blog is that all I ever write about is suffering and death. I have begun to feel like a broken record myself on this topic, but I want you to know that my desire is for my audience to understand the everlasting hope I have in an afterlife.
Yesterday our little church in Granada said goodbye to one of its pillars, a woman named Isabel. Isabel was only 78, in Spanish standards of life expectancy, is fairly young. However, for most of a decade she had suffered with various aliments, mostly heart related. Right as Andrew and I started to attend and particapate in this little church, she had a heart valve replacement, and we all thought that we would lose her. However, God gave her six more years, and she lived those to the fullest. She saw her daughter married,and both of her married daughters had children, all boys!
Finally, after her daughter had a baby last December, Isabel began to slowly fade, and for the last two months she has been in and out of hospital. This past Sunday night, Miguel, our pastor, asked us to drive him to the hospital, and when I saw him the next morning, he told me how he and Ana, Isabel's daughter, had commended Isabel to the Lord. At six in the am, Isabel passed through the veil and saw her Savior face to face for the first time.
In the Spanish tradition, we bured her on Tuesday morning, and about 15 or so from our church went, along with her family, neighbors and a few other friends from another church here in Granada. Here they bury quickly, usually in niches rather than in the ground. Her burial was no exception.
However, what was said and done before we committed her body to the niche was the exepction. We had a wonderful, glorious service in the small chapel. Her daughter Sonia sang, To God be the Glory in Spanish, and together we prayed publicly for the family, and thanked God for her life. We sang song that said...
Yo te busco,
Recibe mi adoración
Te anhelo, Te necesito, Te amo mas que a mi ser.
I look for you, Recive my worship
I long for you, I need you, I love you with all my being.
When Isabel was alive and could still come to church, she would always sit in the front and worship with tears flowing down her face. When we would have time for spontaneous prayers, she would always cry out to God for miracles, thank Him for the miracles she experienced, and worship him. It was always so wonderful to have her kiss my cheek and call me "guapa" after the service. She was always such an encouragement.
Even the hospital she continued to evangelize and preach to the doctors, nurses, orderlies and even the cleaning ladies...until she could no longer speak. And when her job was done, she slowly faded into the next life.
May we all experience and enjoy such a prayer life, a life of worship and a life of utter expectation such as Isabel.