In ministry leadership, there is the back end. It’s like the behind the scenes stuff that no one sees. One of those categories is administrative or clerical if you will. One of those things is simply keeping an email database updated to reflect current attendance, past attendance, and future possibilities. With email contacts and social media there are several checkpoints. This morning I find myself in that mode looking over my lists….. and I find two ladies…… no two friends….. no two sisters in Christ…. members of my family. The reality comes into focus….. it’s time to delete them. Delete them? NO! I cannot, because they will be gone forever. They have been here a while, one for a very long while…. I cannot just simply hit the delete button. My mind talks back, “But they are gone forever. They no longer read emails and their inbox is probably overflowing with emails that will never be read.” I hit delete for the first one who has been in my life for about 2 years. I recounted her laughter, sense of humor and kindness. Her name slipped from the list like a stair step that had been removed from it’s place. That felt sudden and strange. Time to move on to the 2nd name. I clicked on her name, Donna, and her whole Google profile popped up with her sweet face alongside her grandson’s sweet face. She was so vibrant and happy and healthy. My mind wandered to every place I had seen her over the years, ministered alongside her, been ministered to by her, conversations we had…… how could I hit delete. I did. Her profile and her picture just vanished before my eyes and there in her place was a blank screen. A flood of tears rushed in with a host of regrets of things unsaid and more time I wished we had spent. A gentle whisper from God, “She is not gone forever. You will see her again.”
The truth is, we will all vanish from the earth one day. Our spirit will just move from "here to there.” I can be comforted in this one thing: my friends were Heaven-bound. They had both received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and had a living and active relationship with Him. They are not gone forever. They have moved to a place of wonder and we all have the opportunity to follow them there. Thank You Jesus for making the way to get back to You.