Raymond Arthur Waugh, Sr.
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There is a beautiful passage of Scripture in which everyone who has ever come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ should both rejoice and abound. That Scripture which our God shares with us through the Apostle John is, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).
When we relate this word with that which the Apostle Paul shares with us in I Thessalonians 4:16 and 17, eternal wisdom is ours, if we are ready to receive it. Rejoice, then, in "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught-up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." The Apostle Paul explains in another place, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the dead -- that is those who have believed -- will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (I Cor. 15:51-52).
In a sense, I would suppose, many of us who have come to know the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior have some understanding of these truths, though our beliefs of these Scriptural Truths may not then be absolute in any sense. Being able to rejoice that life eternal is ours through our believing faith in His Death, Burial, and Bodily Resurrection, we experience a measure of personal comfort about last things. In the course of our ministries, some of us may even preach these truths. Nevertheless, until we actually experience them in an intimate manner through the lives of near and dear loved ones, we are not really comprehending them finally.
This had been and has been my experience!
In His Sovereignty, our Lord arranged it!
Until my Beloved and I heard the doctor's words that her situation and her circumstance were terminal, we, as most others who deal daily with final things did not really apply them to our own personal experience. In the hour, however, when the word of finality was given to us by our Doctor in whom both of us had great confidence because we had used his services for a number of years, the Scriptures concerning "last things" took on an emphasis which they had not had previously. It was then that we rejoiced first in the reality that God, in His Sovereignty, His Omniscience, and His Omnipotence had saved her forever in August of 1935, and that through the instrumentality of one whose testimony was to be cut very short.
Thankfully, the pieces of the puzzle of our lives began "falling into place" in a way that we could understand. Then, we saw the wisdom of her giving me a poem book on our first Thanksgiving together. In this we learned,
"God is in every tomorrow,
Life with its changes must come,
He is behind and before us,
While in the distance shines Home.
Home, where no thoughts of tomorrow
Ever can shadow our brows,
Home in the presence of Jesus,
Through all Eternity, now!"
Though we had to live with the reality that soon we would have to be parted for a little while, we ever gave thanks for the life which our Savior had provided for us in our moment upon the earth. At times, we could even rejoice that "Our lives are as a vapor which appears for a moment, and then is gone." Consequently, from the heavenly perspective, this became one of the most beautiful and one of the most precious times in our lives. Both under our Magnolia in our backyard, and in the room at home from whence my Beloved took her final flight to be with Jesus, we rejoiced again and again and again.
Some who have known me across some of my 50-year walk with my Lord may be aware that I know something about "walking in the heavenlies," as it were. Although there is a tendency on the part of many to be concerned about mundane things such as "healing" and "no healing," we became more and more involved in the will of God for each of our lives. At times, our relationship with Him was so very real and so very experiential that sometimes a heavenly cloud of the Lord's making -- "the Shikinah Glory" -- would overshadow us with holy comfort and eternal assurance. We knew His Presence, and we rejoiced!
Often during the last few months, my Beloved could no longer concentrate to read. At her request, I would read for hours. I do not know that we covered all of the Psalms, but she delighted in the comforting and the Messianic words of David and others. She requested, too, that we read much in John's Gospel and in his Epistles. We would read of God's love for us, and she would want to talk about God's love.
Even early on her last earthly morning, the Love of God was more and more upon her heart. I had my cot in the room with her, and during the last months I apparently slept very lightly for she could simply call "papa" -- sometimes in a very weakened voice -- and I would be immediately awake to do her bidding. On this last morning, we read, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" and the surrounding chapters time and time again. We talked about God's Love, and I could know that her heart was rejoicing with joy unspeakable. For some two hours, the eternal love of God was ours in time, and we knew that our love in time was, in truth, eternal!
We "touched" His Garment Hem!
His Spirit "flowed in us" then!
Around 3 oclock later that day, my Beloved took one short little breath, and she was in the Presence of our Savior. Because we were able to say while she yet dwelt in her mortal body, "He is Risen, as He said," we knew that our hope was without fault and without flaw. Today, though there is no such thing as time in eternity -- right now -- in a body of the Lord's provision, my beloved walks streets of pure gold with Jesus, loved ones who have gone on, and the saints of all ages.
Thankfully, in just a little while, in our God's own good time, I shall join our Savior, her, and the saints of all ages there. This is assurance which is absolute, and it is complete. Truly, "all things work together for good" for the Lord's own, and in this accomplishment which is His, He is glorified! In this, I rejoice today, almost sometimes as though I already were there.
(This will be a reworking of a portion of NOT DEAD NOR SLEEPING at the request of Ramsay Willard of Simpsonville, S. C. He has suggested such in order that it might be prepared for publication in "The Pillar.")
Last updated Friday, October 17, 2008
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