There were only a couple of days left before the end of a turbulent ride through 2021. But before I could breathe a final sigh of relief, I lost a very dear friend. Brenda had battled several types of metastatic cancer for over a year. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions with her throughout her journey.
The high point was sharing her excitement after she received positive reports during treatment which showed miraculous improvement. The dreaded day came, however, when the reports turned negative. She fought with everything in her to stay alive, but in the end it was not enough. That final day God had ordained for her, even before she took her first breath, had arrived.
Michael and I were so grateful to have been able to see her at the hospital the day before she passed from this life into the next. She looked so peaceful lying there and I knew she had finally given up fighting the long, hard battle. Although she seemed to be sleeping soundly, we reminisced aloud about many sweet memories we shared together over the 17 years we were blessed to know her.
Brenda was the first to meet Miss Emma, my rescued Pomeranian, the very day we brought our fluffy little girl home. She showered so much love on her and was always happy to take care of her during our travels. She had a huge heart for animals and rescued many abandoned dogs during her life.
We celebrated every birthday together and she always made us feel so very special and loved. We were considered part of the family and were invited to all of the holiday meals that she lovingly prepared, by herself, for up to 30+ people at times! Thanksgiving was her favorite. We loved coming over for no reason at all except to simply relax and spend a few hours watching the dogs play together, sipping wine, and just talking about life.
As we stood near her bedside at the hospital, we told her how much we loved her. Then we prayed with her and said our teary goodbyes.
I envisioned her, at that moment, to soon be fully healed while standing in God’s loving presence surrounded by unimaginable beauty. My heart was at peace because I knew she had His “forever stamp” on her – the seal of His ownership. She believed with her whole heart in Jesus Christ as her Savior who paid the price for her sin with His precious blood so she could be made righteous in His sight to enter into His unblemished kingdom.
That stamp is the Holy Spirit, given to us as a deposit the moment we believe in Him. It guarantees our salvation for eternal life!
When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13b-14
Once we are given that forever stamp, we have God’s unbreakable pledge of security. We belong to Him and He would never be so careless as to let us slip away from Him – ever! His power and promise keep us held tightly in His mighty grip. We can be confident of this!
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have proof of His forever stamp on our life as we become transformed inside. We are given a new desire to obey Him and live in a way that pleases Him rather than for our own selfish ambitions. Our life begins to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit which is outward evidence of that gift. And we are given new, purposeful passions with lasting, eternal value.
It is heart-wrenching to lose a loved one. I’m sure many of you have experienced it for yourself and can relate to the agonizing feelings of loss, pain, and sadness. But when it is a loved one like Brenda who had God’s forever stamp on her, guaranteeing her inheritance in heaven, we do not need to grieve as those who have no hope. Our greatest hope is in Christ. His free gift of eternal life is available for everyone who believes.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
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