Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 28, 2021

Dearly Departed (Part 1)

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

I went to a funeral the other day. And it was a time of joy, laughter, remembrance, and confident hope.

Because we have only been in our new community and church for just a short time, we didn’t know Candie well. But both my husband and I did have the great privilege of meeting this kind, gifted, caring (and somewhat mischievous) woman and spending a little time together. Story after story, shared among the huge crowd and from the pulpit, testified to her lifelong mission to spread the love of Jesus, disciple girls and young women, and serve others.

Don’t get me wrong, there were also plenty of tears shed. Her absence leaves a gaping hole in the lives of her family and friends—and in our community. The daily impact Candie made over the decades has created a ripple effect spreading throughout the community, across the country, and around the world.

But the crowd wasn’t grieving a permanent loss. Candie simply moved away—she went Home. As she took her last breath here, she was immediately in the presence of the One to whom she’d surrendered all (2 Corinthians 5:8). Physical pain and emotional suffering slipped off of her like a heavy winter coat discarded for summer’s radiant warmth. She is now free of all earthly burdens and the sin inherent to our broken world. And, no doubt, after she met Jesus face to face, she turned to see a line of people waiting to greet her—people who would not otherwise be in Heaven if not for her.

This funeral was a genuine celebration. Of her exceptional life on earth and her eternal life with Jesus. It was truly as if an awesome moving-away party was planned, and the guest of honor had to leave sooner than expected…but we had the party anyway. We know exactly where she is—and we know she loves it there.

Those of us celebrating her life who have accepted the gift of salvation through Calvary’s cross have confident hope that we’ll see Candie again—we’ll be joining her in Heaven when God calls us Home. And because she would want everyone there to be in that category (and the pastor knew that), he clearly shared the Gospel to close out the celebration.

What is “the Gospel”? We are all separated from God by our sin. But Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived the perfect life we could not live and died to take the punishment we deserve. He rose again, defeating sin and death. And when we surrender to Jesus, He exchanges our rags for His righteousness, so that we can live eternally with Him. (Romans 5:8; 6:23; 8:1; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 John 4:10)

What about you? Do you have this confident hope—knowledge that this life is fleeting, and upon death, you’ll be in the eternal presence of the Lord? Or do you “think” or “wish” that heaven is your ultimate destination, but you’re not sure? Friend, you can be sure! Won’t you accept the free gift of salvation—of soul restoration—provided by Jesus? After all, I’d really like you meet Candie.

“Lord, by Your grace we can have blessed assurance of where we’ll be once we take our last breath here. Thank You that our mourning can give way to gladness.”


For His Glory


Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life


  1. I have also been to funerals where there is not the joy of Jesus present. It is doubly sad to watch people grieve and have them reject the peace and joy that Jesus offers.

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