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Ready for Heaven

Did she have some sort of premonition? My wife Barbara had been following CaringBridge postings by two of our friends who were dying of cancer. She prayed faithfully for them, always reading the latest posts to me, making sure I was praying too. Shortly after our two friends died, Barbara was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. As soon as she heard the doctor’s pronouncement, she said, “Now it’s my turn!” She was not surprised when we learned that the prognosis for this type of cancer for someone her age was not good.

Barbara felt the Lord had allowed her to have this disease, and she saw it as an opportunity to witness for Christ as she faced death. And witness she did—to every doctor, nurse, and anyone who would listen to her! She made it clear that she was not afraid to die because she believed in Jesus Christ and the credible evidence of His resurrection. She knew that her death would mean she would be with the Lord she loved.

On one occasion, as she aggressively witnessed in the hospital, I was a bit embarrassed. Seeing this, after her audience left, she turned to me and asked, “Well, what do you think they will do to me—kick me out?” So, we both just laughed, and I knew she would not let up.

One time, when Barbara was waiting for a treatment, a nurse came in to tell her that she also believed in Jesus and hoped she would go to heaven when her time came. Barbara bristled and said, “What do you mean ‘hope you will go to heaven’? There is no maybe about this! We have the promises of Jesus! If you believe in Jesus, there is no ‘if’ or ‘hope so’—it’s a sure thing!” Tears filled the nurse’s eyes. About that time, another nurse came in to check on something with Barbara, and I moved over to the window. The nurse who believed followed me to the window. Touching my arm she said, “What your wife just said about assurance of heaven really blessed me!”

When Barbara was at home and still able to get around a bit, all the grandchildren (16 of them, except two of the girls) came for a visit. Barbara went into her bedroom and instructed us to send each grandchild in one by one. She told them not to feel sorry for her because she knew she was going to a better place, to be with the Lord in His Heaven. Then she prayed for each one.

The granddaughter who had not been able to come with the group because she was having our first great-grandchild came later, along with the other granddaughter who had not been there, and they brought the new baby for Barbara to hold. She just glowed with pride and satisfaction, grateful that she had lived to enjoy that moment.

On October 8, 2012, Barbara went to be with the Lord. She had a peaceful passing in her sleep and did not suffer—for which I was very thankful!

Did Barbara have a premonition about her death? If so, it was a blessing for me. Several months before she was diagnosed, we were out driving one day and Barbara said, “We aren’t likely to both die at the same time.” Then she suggested that I teach her how to put water in the furnace and do other jobs that were exclusively mine to do. And she would teach me some things about cooking and housekeeping that she usually did.

At that time, every Thursday, Barbara went to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to teach conversational English to the spouses of international students. She also taught a Bible class right after her English class. She really loved the internationals, and they loved her, but after the long sessions, she would come home tired. So, we decided Thursdays would be my day to prepare dinner. She would tell me what to fix and how to do it, and that helped me learn enough then to survive later when she was no longer there to guide me.

Barbara and I had been married 54 years, and when she died, I lost someone close and dear to me. I miss her very much, but I’m grateful for the legacy of faith we built in our children—two sons, one daughter, 16 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren (with two more expected soon). They range in age from a few months to eight years old, and it’s a challenge to keep up with them all. Our son, Bradley, lives in Germany and serves with Coalition for Biblical Counseling, training pastors and laity in the principles of good biblical counseling. Our second son, Eric, is an engineer with National Grid and a faithful layperson in his church. And our daughter, JoyLynn, is also very involved in her church and lives nearby, so I get to see her often—although not as often since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thinking of Barbara, as I do so often, I can’t help but smile with happiness. I know she’s with the Lord she loves and is enjoying her heavenly home.

“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV).

After returning from 12 years in collegiate ministry in Indonesia, Ernie Beevers served as a pastor for 14 years and for 21 years as director of the New England off-campus center of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in New England. Now fully retired from adjunct teaching and mentoring students, Ernie still helps students (especially ESL students) who ask for his editorial help with their papers.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20210104
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Jan-Mar 2021. CCMUSA.