Before I turned 40 I had attended 5 funerals. In the past 4 months since turning 40, our family has now attended 4. My wife’s best friend, my wife’s old softball teammate, a dear co-worker, and the latest a dear friend and sweet saint of God. Bernice was 82 years old, and had been married to our friend Dan. We met them 14 years ago as they did our premarital counselling. Kara and Dan would sit and smile and Bernice and I would chat the entire time having the best of times. I remember thinking when we left there how great it would be to married 50 plus year like them. Well in the end they were married 65 years, they had 4 kids, 8 grand kids and great grand babies as well. The funeral was sweet, and joyful it was the funeral of a saint going home. There was no question, this was a woman who loved the Lord. Over the years as we all aged she became ill with Parkinson’s, which took it’s toll on her. Dan showed us all how to finish the race strong as he was with her till the end taking care of her. I can’t think of a better example of how to do marriage than our two pre-marital counselors.
While at the funeral they told a story about Bernice when she was 5 years old. Her dad hopped in the car and was backing out of the driveway, some of her 11 brothers were playing baseball in the street. When all the sudden they started shouting “you killed her, dad you killed her.” They were able to pick the car up twice but neither time did they have the presence of mind to pull her body out, and they laid it back onto her. Then her dad put the car in neutral and they rolled it off of her. Bernice laid their limp blood coming out of her eyes, and nose. Her dad a man of God holding her said, “God you told me you wouldn’t give me more than I can bear, and I can’t bear the thought of killing my little girl.” As he said this her arms regained strength and she put her arms around her daddy’s neck. She said “what happened?” The ambulance arrived and they took her to the hospital where they could find nothing wrong with her. God had healed and saved Bernice.
As I sat there listening to this story for the first time I was amazed. I have heard stories like this in the past and thought man wouldn’t that be cool if that really happened. Well I can assure you if this family said it happened, it happened. Truly God is a God of His word, and because this man of God had a relationship with God, he knew God would hear his prayers. As I looked at all the people at the funeral I thought to myself how many of these people wouldn’t have been here had that prayer not been prayed. God knew from the foundations of the earth whose name was in the book of life and he knew that Bernice must survive to mother and grandmother some of these saved to be individuals. How great is our God? Amazing. And what did Bernice make of her life, a lot she showed generations of people how to love. How to love, is no small thing to teach others to do. It is the hardest of things when the object of the love is not ourselves. She was a miracle at age 5 and she was a miracle at the end. Well Done Good And Faithful Servant. Thank you for showing me and my wife how to love so many years ago. Your legacy lives on through the lives you touched.