Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
I have met many men who could quote the Bible and many men who preached for a living. Yet, I have never met a man more learned in the Bible and its teachings than Anna’s great-uncle Michael, who passed away yesterday. Michael was a lay preacher, and he dedicated his life in an uncommon way to God. Michael was Anna’s grandfather’s brother, and he was predeceased by his wife auntie Pat. David, or Ardy as Anna and her sisters called him, was wise beyond measure, and was a strong student of religion. As successful as he was with his mill, his business, and his family, even David would admit that he could not hold a candle to Michael’s vast ecclesiastical knowledge.
I regret not seeing Michael the last time I was in England. I hadn’t seen him since David’s death nine years ago, where he spoke so eloquently about death and the afterlife. His death leaves a void in our family—I say “our” because Anna’s British family has adopted me as one of their own. It also leaves a void in the community, because a gift and a dedication like Michael’s is almost unheard of these days. Very few laypeople dedicated their lives to the study of God’s words like Michael did, and even fewer such people exist today.
We will go to church this weekend, and I will think fondly of Michael finally being home. His belief was absolute, and I know that he did not mourn his passing but instead embraced it with the knowledge that his “light and momentary troubles” in this life achieved for him “an eternal glory that far outweighed them all.” Corinthians 4:17.
I rarely quote from the Bible, mostly because I know so few verses, but also because my faith has been tested so much over the past ten years. With faith restored, I do not feel as hypocritical drawing from the knowledge that has been set down by generations of believers. And so I close with a quote, as Michael would have done.
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8