By Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of January 28, 2023
It seems quite a few icons have passed into eternity recently. At least some we felt like we knew, if even at a distance. We could see their famous lives play out, beautifully at times.
The one I’m most inspired by is Pastor Jack Hayford. He was a father figure to me from afar. I began listening to his radio broadcasts in 1979 on my drivetime to work. I was captured by the truths he spoke and impressed by the conviction with which he spoke them. He was someone I wanted to know better. Someone from whom I wanted to hear more.
And then there was Franco Harris and Lisa Marie Presley. I didn’t know either of them personally, but I did serve Mr. Harris once when I worked as a flight attendant decades ago. I remember him as strong, kind and well-mannered. Ms. Presley, I had never met but I admired her beauty, her voice and her musical legacy. I prayed for her and her family.
I fought sadness in my heart when these people passed. It’s times like this, when our world changes as we know it, that I’m reminded we serve a faithful God. He is gracious beyond what we can comprehend, rich in mercy and reaches people and places we cannot. He is our only hope.
Holy Spirit always leads me when I pass through grief, encouraging my heart along the way. He often reveals to me when a loved one—or even a public figure—needs prayer or is about to pass into eternity. But this was not the case with these three people.
However, a few years back, when a relative was about to pass, Holy Spirit showed me a vision of their face late one night. I didn’t know exactly what was wrong. It just felt urgent. So, I immediately began to pray.
When this person passed, I wondered if they knew Jesus because I never knew their testimony. I never saw them attend church. So, in my quest for peace, I sought an answer from God.
Holy Spirit showed me a vision of a simple, narrow cross lying flat on the ground. Then, in an instant, the cross stood up straight. My heart felt overwhelmed with gratitude, because I understood that God raised up a cross for my beloved relative.
In time, Holy Spirit confirmed this to me with His Word in Ephesians 2:6 AMP, which says, "And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus."
I was reminded that all that is required of us to enter into Heaven with God is our belief by faith in His grace through Messiah Jesus.
We don’t often know what people hold in their hearts or say in their final moments. We don’t often hear their most intimate prayers or their deepest cries for help. But we can know God who does. And He can settle our souls with one revelation.
Lately, a few have come to me for private prayer in their profound losses. They’ve sought God to help their hearts along. Sometimes, He works over time. Sometimes, He works in a moment. But through it all, we can know that our best place with Him is up and forward.
God has more life ahead for His grieving ones and the saints that have gone before us. Thankfully, He offers us an invitation to keep looking up, not behind. Yes, we have cherished memories. But divine restoration awaits us. First, in our hearts with Him. Then with others up ahead. This gives us hope.
We don’t have to get trapped in pain. We can grieve through someone’s passing and not camp there too long.
When I consider Lisa Marie Presley, I remember myself, having lost a loved one at an early age and not knowing how to process through it God’s way.
I didn’t experience peace in this regard until years later, when I came to know God more and finally decided to trust Him enough to give Him all the pain and loss. Only then, did God begin to heal my heart.
It has been decades since then, and I can honestly say that I can remember the loss but the pain has no effect now. It doesn’t hold me back from being and doing what God has for me in my life.
He is the only One who can heal a soul this well. There is no honor in the unwillingness to release painful loss to the One who gives and takes away. We can choose to see and live as He wills—in the scope of eternity with so much more around us and forward. In this place of hope, it can be made well with our souls.
So, pray with me if you will . . .
Thank You for Your sacrifice to heal my heart. Thank You for Your promise of restoration. I willingly give You all the grief of my loss. I willingly lay, at the foot of the cross, my way of coping. I willingly trust You with my loved ones who have gone before me. I ask You to remove all the pain from my heart and make it whole again.
I realize that You, Lord, are full of compassion and no one has suffered more than Your Son. So, please help me to look up to You and receive Your abundant life for me under Your great cloud of witnesses, who are alive with You (Heb 12:1).
In Jesus’ Mighty Name,
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.
Originally published Sunday, 29 January 2023.