Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Grandma's Smile

“Grandma’s Smile” 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10
A Funeral Meditation for Inez Faye Skeldon
February 2, 2010

My Grandma died last week.

Grandma died with her three kids around her and with a smile on her face.

It was the first smile in a long time.  Grandma had been doing poorly for years and on a steady decline.  And so I’ve been telling everyone that her death is a happy ending to what had been a sad story for a quite a while.

Of course, her life wasn’t a sad story. We’ve heard about that already this morning.  Grandma lived a full and good life, full of God’s blessings.

And she smiled a lot.  I remember Grandma’s smile that broke out on her face when we grandkids came over for a visit.  When we enjoyed her cooking–salisbury steaks, Texas Sheetcake, and that mouth-watering coleslaw that no one else could ever make.

Grandma gave us that big smile when she would guess whodunit on the mysterty television show we were watching just by walking into the room and saying which character looked shifty to her.  It couldn’t be that person!  But it always was. And she would just smile that contented little Grandma smile.

Grandma gave us that big smile when we came in from playing in her big backyard and she had a glass of refreshing water kept cool in a jug in the fridge.  That water was just tap water but it always tasted so good kept cool in the fridge.  My Mom doesn’t, but both my brother and I do keep water cool in the fridge just because Grandma did!

Grandma’s Smile.

Her smile last week, however, wasn’t because of her grandkids as much as she loved us.  Or because of her sons and daughter as much as she loved them.  Or because of her husband as much as she loved that old rascal!

No, I believe Grandma smiled last Wednesday because she was going to heaven.

Maybe she could even see heaven opening for her with the eyes of faith.

I don’t know.

But I know that Grandma is smiling now.

Because I know what the Bible says about heaven.

I want to share with you just a few of the things the Bible says about Heaven.


Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. [We don’t give up.]  Though outwardly we are wasting away [and that’s what happened to Grandma], yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” [4:16-18].

We fix our eyes not on this world and what we can see now but on that world and what we cannot see right now.  What is unseen.

Why? Because this is all temporary.  But that is eternal.

Heaven is the eternal enjoyment of God’s glory.

Paul says, “Our light and momentary troubles [Grandma’s troubles didn’t seem light and momentary, but in comparison with eternity, they] are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Heaven is eternal.  And it is the constant enjoyment of God’s glory.

And it far outweighs all of the trials and tribulations and troubles of this life.

“Far outweighs!”

Because of my job, I go to a lot of funerals.  And people often say something like, “She’s in a better place now.”

But they don’t really believe it.   They just say it.  I have a friend who has lived through some nasty cancer.  And once, when  I saw him and he said that the treatment was going well, and he’s on “the right side of the flowers.”  And I know what’s he’s saying.  But it’s not true.  If he truly belongs to Jesus, right now, he’s on the wrong side of the flowers!

Grandma is on the right side of the flowers.

The side that “far outweighs” it all.

And that’s why she smiled.


The apostle Paul goes on to say this in 2 Corinthians 5...

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. [He’s talking her about our bodies.] Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling [our new bodies], because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked [a bare soul].  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

Grandma and Grandpa Skeldon loved to go camping.

Some of my favorite memories were camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee with them and Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania and in various campgrounds around Ohio.

I love camping.

But one of the best parts of camping is coming home!

Isn’t it?  It’s okay to live in a tent.  But eventually you want to get home to your own bed, right?  A roof over your head.

Paul is calling this body, our earthly bodies, a tent. We’re camping right now. And camping is temporary.

But there is an eternal dwelling–a heavenly dwelling–a new body that is on order, on the way.

And one day, in the New Heavens and New Earth that is coming, those who belong to Jesus will have those new bodies.

Paul said it this way in Philippians 3, “[O]ur citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Vv.20-21).

That would be something to smile about!  Wouldn’t it?!

Heaven is the eternal enjoyment of a new body, guaranteed.

A new body not wracked by memory loss.  Not broken by a fall or a broken shoulder.  Not skin that tears and never heals. Grandma had to go through that here.  But her new body won’t be like that at all.

The Bible says, “The mortal will be swallowed up by LIFE.”

New bodies that never fail and never die.

That’s something to smile about.

But Heaven is even better than that.


This is what really makes Heaven, Heaven!

Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 5, verses 6 through 10

“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Listen to verse 8 of that again.

“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body [that’s where Granmda is right now] and at home with the Lord. [That’s where Grandma is right now!]”

This what makes Heaven, Heaven.

Heaven is not primarily about seeing our loved ones who have already died.
Though we will.  And I believe that Grandma is with Grandpa and with others whom she loved in this life.

Heaven is not primarily about escaping the punishment of Hell.
Though we will if we belong to Jesus.

Heaven is not even primarily about enjoying our New Bodies, though we will, and the Bible makes a big deal out of it.

Heaven is primarily about being with the Lord Jesus forever.

“Home with the Lord.”

He is what makes Heaven Heaven.

And that is enough to make Grandma smile–forever.

Are you ready to go to Heaven?

Do you understand that Heaven is not your default destination?

Not everyone is heading to Heaven.

Hell is the destination that we are born barreling towards.

But Jesus has made a way to Heaven.

He is the Way to heaven.

He said that He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.

Jesus died on the Cross to make a way for us to get to Heaven.

We have to turn from our sins and from the direction that we are chasing in life.   That’s called “repenting.”

And we have to put our trust in Jesus Christ and Him alone.  Trusting in what Jesus did for us on the cross–paying for our sins and offering us new life.

And then following Him by faith.  Going in His direction.

And when we do that, we are on the road to Heaven.  The way to Heaven.

Jesus is the Way to Heaven.

And He is what makes Heaven, Heaven.

If you would like to know more about Jesus, I’d love to tell you all about Him.

He is what makes Heaven, Heaven.

And my Grandma is experiencing that now.

Because she is home with the Lord.

And that makes me smile.