If you are a friend of The Blackwood Brothers you may know of my sister-in-law, Mona. Mona and my older brother, Jimmy, have been married for 55 years as of October 21, 2018! Mona also has been our booking agent for many years and as such, is responsible for arranging our schedule and securing places for us to sing. She and Jimmy began dating when they were in high school. I was still in single digits and barely remember life before Mona.
Mona has had two best friends since they were barely teenagers who happen to be sisters, Jane and Judy. I feel like I know them because I have heard of them all my life and have seen them on occasion. Jane passed away this week, the first of their circle of friends to leave. Jane was a strong Christian and we know she is with the Lord and Mona will see her again. But the loss has still hit Mona very hard.
This morning I received a text that one of my closest friends lost his dad last night. He, too, was a strong believer and we will see him again. While “we sorrow not as those who have no hope,” the immediate loss of relationship is monumental. There is something about death that goes against everything we know to be true. It was not supposed to be a part of our life experience. Thankfully, death has been defeated at the cross!
I spent time last night talking and praying with Mona about her loss and time this morning texting with my friend, and can’t help but think about how fragile life is and how “it is appointed unto man once to die.” As I pondered those thoughts I immediately thought of the message that we sing in all of our concerts; a message of salvation, of hope, of consolation, of peace in the midst of storms, hope in the time of sorrow, and faith in the face of doubt.
Death is an interruption to life. It is a reminder of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sinful choices. And while death goes against everything we feel and believe, we as believers have the assurance that, though life has experienced a major interruption, it will continue on the other side of the grave. To answer the question Peggy Lee sang years ago, this is not all there is. There is life eternal and unending awaiting every believer.
If you have loved ones, friends or neighbors who don’t know Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to open a door for you to share your faith in Christ with them. It may be the most important conversation they will ever have and potentially the greatest gift they will ever receive.
Abundant blessing, peace, and joy to you and yours.
Billy Blackwood firstname.lastname@example.org