The news of my friend John losing his brother to cancer came to me today.  As I sat to type a note to my friend, tears welled up in my eyes and I could only stare at the screen, reminiscing of the loss of my big brother several years ago to the same evil disease, and feeling compassion for my friend and his family.

Through my own experience, prayers and words of encouragement and compassion are welcomed and desired…but they are also very blurry.  I cannot really tell you anything that anyone said to me as I was dealing with my loss.  But a couple of things I do remember – condolences and and compassion, LOVE from friends and family, and the loving arms of God. I imagine Him wrapping His arms around those in sorrow and even shedding tears with us.  After all, He is that kind of loving God.

This time for John’s family is difficult but also relieving. His little brother, Joshua was close to the Lord and is certainly experiencing the rush of tears of  joy, wonder and amazement at being in the glory of the Lord.  This knowledge alone has made his temporary pain well worth it. Hallelujah! No more sickness, sorrow, pain, trouble, etc. I can only imagine the wonder and awe of this place; well beyond explanation of words.

Joshua has found his permanent home. We are still here with purpose to fulfill what we were created for. So through tears, we carry on without loved ones.

Our flesh is temporary.  Life is but a fleeting moment compared to eternity.  Love never dies. Love is never ending; eternal.  Whether you refer to the love of family and friends or the love of Jehovah God, love is forever.  This is why you can say even when physically absent, your loved one is not completely gone. “I can feel them right here with me.” Love never dies.  One day you will “see” love again.

The years have assisted in glazing over the pain and sorrow I feel in the loss of my brother. And as the days roll on, John and his family will experience the same comfort of a God with undying love and compassion.  Great comfort can be taken in the fact that John and his family spent quality time with Joshua in his last few months.  (My regret is not spending enough time with my brother.)

So, we send our love and our prayers for the entire Ragsdale family and those close to Joshua.

Without real love, we are dead. Lord, help to love in the true meaning of the word. I want to possess undying love.

Rest in peace, Joshua Ragsdale. You will be sorely missed by many.  …oh, and don’t wear yourself out too much dancing around the throne!