Here is part two to this heartwarming, bittersweet story written by John Nelson about his sister, Janecia. I pray when you finish it, you come to the same conclusion John did: God is glorified even in the midst of heartache, and God is good.
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When the reception ended, David and Janecia got into the dune buggy to begin their new life together as man and wife. Janecia left her wedding dress on for the departure “to get better pictures”.
When she got up that morning, she reached into that “bag of gold coins”. She pulled out a coin. This coin was to be spent on her wedding day activities. She had not left God out of this day. He was in all of the music during the wedding. He was in the smiles and tears of the “bus kids”, friends, and family in the crowd.
When she reached in at the start of the day, she did not realize this was her last coin.
The parking lot was full of people touched by their lives. The couple, still clad in their tux and wedding dress, waved from the dune buggy as it sped off from the crowd. With cameras flashing and the crowd waving, David lost control of the dune buggy and crashed into a telephone phone on the street in front of the church.
Janecia had her bags packed for a trip to Eureka Springs. She did not need them where she was going. She would be spending her honeymoon in heaven.
We held her funeral a few days later. I got the privilege to give the eulogy. As I sat on the pew on the stage waiting for my turn to speak, I couldn’t help but stare at the white casket placed in front of the podium. Flowers used at the wedding were nicely placed around the casket. Wedding pictures were placed on top of the closed casket.
My sister’s body, dressed in her wedding attire, lay inside just in front of me where she stood just days earlier saying “I do” to her new husband. I can remember thinking the same thoughts as I did when I walked her down the aisle. My sister is gone. I’m not going to be able to go visiting with her any more. I won’t be able to see her the first thing every morning. I won’t be seeing her at church. Then, just as before, I realized that I was wrong. I reminded myself that she is not here in this closed casket; instead she is present with the Lord. She is not in my past, but in my future. I will see her again. She will be with me in spirit every time I go visiting, and every time I’m at church. The songs that were sung at the wedding were sung again at the funeral. This time they had a different meaning. The church was filled with family, friends, and “bus kids” that had been touched by her life and testimony.
It was a beautiful service. Although this was a tragedy by human standards, it was an event that glorified God.
I have no way of knowing how many people have been touched by her during her twenty-three years on earth or by this story since her wedding in July, 1985. I do know that she made a difference. She made a difference in our family, our church, and our town.
I share this story with you to encourage you to make a difference. Make a difference in your family, church, workplace, school, or town. The world will be won for Christ one soul at a time. Start today, before your “bag of coins” is empty. The question to ask yourself is not “How many days do I have to live?” The question I leave you with is “How will I spend the days that I have serving the Lord?” May God bless you on your journey through life as you spend your days.
— John Nelson
Joseph Hamrick is a semi-professional writer and sometimes thinker. He lives in Commerce and serves as a deacon at Commerce Community Church (C3). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.