Finish the Race

K. Veach Run, 2009.

Since Jana died, I have thought a lot about what happens after a person’s life is over on earth. I have thought about what she experienced, what it may have looked like, and how she made that transition directly into Jesus’ care.

The fact that my best friend made this journey gives me encouragement for my time to go. Paul describes a willingness to go to be with the Lord, but he has work to do. I’m still here, so my understanding would be the same…I have work to do.

[21] For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [22] Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. [23] I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ-which is far better- [24] but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

Philippians 1:21-24

Jana and I were so close, I would tease her that, “I know you better than you know you!” We thought a lot alike. We had spent years together and knew what the other would think about any particular subject. We laughed at our own private jokes, enjoyed silly things, and knew what made the other angry, sad, or happy.

This step, this eternal jumping off point…is something we didn’t experience together. I don’t know what she saw. Her experience was not mine. My life is Christ, her life is now gain. She is before the One who loves her more than any other. It’s weird, but I feel like I should know what she knows… That is how it has always worked.

The other day I thought about what heaven may feel like when making the transition from here to there. I imagined the end of a long race. Friends and family, and the family of God, line the end of the track. Ahead is the finish line, and there stands Jesus. As I press on toward that line, out of the corner of my eye stands those I have loved on earth. Family, good friends…then I see Jana. She’s shining and lovely, happy for me, and after my last couple of strides, I fall into the Lord’s arms…forever.

So great a cloud of witnesses… The marriage supper. We’ll all be together. Saints enjoying God’s grace and perfection for eternity. Yes, to die is gain, and to be with Christ is far better. But, there is purpose to life and the Father has work for me to do. I will serve Him with the days He has given. May my work be fruitful for Him!

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