Monday night, I got a call that a dear member of our family had passed away suddenly. I don’t know that I have yet wrapped my mind around it, and don’t know that I will ever stop missing him.
David is not what we call in the South my “blood relative.” He was married to my cousin, Nina. But he’s been a part of our family for so long I don’t have a memory of my family without him being in it. He was an amazing, caring, kind, and gentle man- the kind you rarely run across any more.
And now, he has left us. He’s gone home.
When my dad passed away 14 years ago, it was expected. He had been sick for a long time. When the hospice nurse came for her visit on that Friday afternoon, she told us that he would likely not last through the night. And she was correct. Knowing the time was near, we stayed close by his side all that day and all that night. We didn’t welcome my dad’s death. But we knew.
But, like so many others, David left us unexpectedly. I don’t know what his day was like on Monday, but I really don’t think he got up that morning expecting it to be his last day on this earth. If he knew that, without a doubt he would have surrounded himself with his wife, his children, his grandchildren. And probably his dogs, too. There would have been tears, laughter, memories shared, good-byes said. But, no, everyone was about their Monday business, thinking about the things that normally capture our attention.
So his passing was a shock to us, but the glorious thing we know is that none of this took our Heavenly Father by surprise. Every single detail of David’s last day had been carefully orchestrated by a loving God. From the moment David took his first breath some 67 years ago, His Creator Father knew the exact moment he would take his final one. He knew the last voice David would hear, the last words he would utter, the last thought he would have on this side of eternity. God knew, because God wrote David’s story- and He has written yours and mine, too.
Psalm 139:16 tells us “All the days ordained for me were written in your book.” God, the Author of our lives doesn’t just know our every moment, He oversees them. He has marked out a path for our feet to travel from here into eternity. There is not a single moment we will experience that He has not chosen for us.
It’s not for us to fear the unexpected. It’s meant for us to trust the One who loves us so deeply that even now He is preparing a place for us to be with Him for eternity. It’s meant for us to be ready if today is the day the unexpected will happen to us.
On this side of Heaven, we feel stunned, shock, loss, sorrow, and maybe even confusion over the loss of this sweet man who was such an integral part of our family. But David is rejoicing. I can just imagine him dancing through the gates of Heaven with joy unspeakable, greeting His Savior face to face for the first time, greeting his family members who were waiting there.
And beyond that, I can’t even begin to fathom all that he is experiencing right now.
But one day I will know, because I will be there, too.