This weekend we laid my wonderful husband Al Tanksley to rest. Although my heart is broken, my spirit is determined to carry on the legacy that he left behind, and worked so hard to prepare me for. These are some words that I shared at his going-home service. Next week the regular blog post schedule will resume.
It’s OK to rage against death. And I do! This is not the way it was supposed to be. God did not create us to live a few years – or even many years – on this planet, and then to die. We were created for eternity. We were created to live forever! Death is an imposter. The Bible calls death “the last enemy to be destroyed.” (1 Corinthians 15:26)
As good as this life may get, it’s never enough. It doesn’t matter how many years you live, how much money or things or success you have – or don’t have. It doesn’t even matter how many people you have around you. It’s never enough. It never can be enough. Because we were created for more. Al Tanksley was created for more. You and I were created for more. And right now Al is finally experiencing that “more.”
And we will have that more in eternity. I know that heaven is real. When people say, “I’m sorry you lost your husband” I want to say, “No, I haven’t lost him. I know exactly where he is!”
Yes, we are separated for now, but not forever.
This is not my husband. Al Tanksley is not in this box! This may be his body, his shell, but this is not him!
Paul said, “If only in this life we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) We can grieve. I will grieve for a time. That’s as it should be. But I know that this is not the end. For Al, it is the beginning! As Buddy (the preacher) charged us at our wedding just seven too-short years ago, Al and I were given a mission. And that mission is only partially completed. And now, it’s up to me to continue that mission, and I’m committed to doing so.
Death, you may think you have won. Yes, the wounds you have inflicted are deep. And we will mourn as we nurse those wounds somewhat. But in truth you have lost again! While to human eyes you may seem to have won this battle, you have already lost the war. And every life you take – temporarily – such as Al Tanksley’s, is but another nail in your own coffin. Death, you will be destroyed! And Al Tanksley, along with me and all the rest of us who trust in Jesus, will live forever.
Now, “Where, O death, is thy sting? Where, O grave, is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
As the gospel preacher said, “It may be Friday. But Sunday’s coming!”
Honey, I love you! And I’ll be looking for you next to the Jesus that we both love. You are, and always will be, the wind beneath my wings!
Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!
P.S. For those who wish to make a gift in Al’s memory, you can do so here.