Just over 15 years ago I was at work on a Wednesday afternoon when I received a frantic phone call from a neighbor. He advised me that EMT personnel were outside my home with my wife. I immediately started to drive the short 6 1/2 miles home but somehow knew that I would not find her alive. My suspicion was confirmed when I got out of my vehicle and was told by this same neighbor, “Royce, don’t go to her…where they are…it isn’t good”. I complied, and in a few minutes I saw them load my wife’s lifeless body into a van. It would be much longer before the doctor came out to me with a sad face giving the news I fully expected, “I’m so sorry Mr. Ogle, we couldn’t get her back”. It was official, my wife was gone….forever.
Now, fifteen years later as I reflect on that day, and the days and months that followed, I am amazed at how God helped me through one of the toughest times of my life. I remember the pain as sharp as a knife, the loneliness, the utter sadness, and all the flood of emotions that continued to ebb and flow as I walked the lonely road of grief.
Now I have been married to another Texan for almost thirteen years. Carol is a wonderful wife, the perfect one for me! I am so thankful that it pleased God to bring us together as He did. Two broken and battered hearts who when joined together would be used to help and encourage many others who too were in the darkness of grief.
Today, that bubbly, funny, wild and beautiful woman I married in 1980 is only a memory. When we exchanged wedding vows we said these words, “…’til death do us part.” Death did it’s unwanted and unacceptable work, it parted us…forever.
Marriage is only for living earthlings. Every marriage begins at some moment in time and ends at some moment in time, either by death or divorce. The key word is “time”. Marriage, and other familial relationships, are only for time, they are not for eternity. When we all get to heaven there will be no marriages, the Bible is clear about that. You see, when my love and yours is perfect like our heavenly Father’s, we will no longer discriminate between people. When I love like God loves, I’ll love your mom as much as I do mine. Those family relationships that are only intended for time will be no longer needed, they will be obsolete.
It is against the back drop of these truths that memories of loved ones who have gone become even more precious and guarded. I think it is God’s design to give us sweet episodes to relive in our minds, to remember good times with those we love so much, until….. Until we see Jesus our Lord face to face and finally know fully what it is to love and be loved…unconditionally, forever.
I have had good cause to contemplate these things. Deaths of parents, loved ones, family members by the scores, and a wife… and now in the autumn of my life I am very aware that my time is drawing near, a myth doesn’t satisfy. I want to realize the goal of my faith. I want to see The Lamb of God.
While I’m here I want to fully enjoy and appreciate all the relationships God has been so kind to give. But when they are gone it is…, well it is…, as Paul said it “Far better..”. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take “Far better” anytime! No more funeral homes, no more grave side services, no more sickness, no more pain, no more broken hearts. Every child of God will be perfectly whole because “By His stripes we are healed”.
Cherish your precious memories. They are one of God’s best gifts to you, until you have it all! Whatever Jesus owns you and I will own, whatever He loves we will love without measure. I can’t begin to imagine how it will be one day when memories become as useless as the sun, no longer needed.
Precious promises and precious memories! God is good indeed!