In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV)
My family is in shock because we learned that a longtime friend passed away from COVID-19. About 3 weeks ago, she told us that her pulse oximeter reading was 83% which is very low. Something was going on with her lungs. I called her and asked if she was having fevers and sleeping a lot, and she said: Yes. We told her that she had to go to the Emergency Department and get treatment. We stayed in touch via phone and text messages during her hospitalization and she ended up in the ICU a few days later; she was getting worse. We prayed that God would heal her, and we couldn’t wait to hear that she is recovered and ready to go home. But that didn’t happen. Our hearts broke for her and her family, especially for her daughter who just celebrated her 18th birthday.
It doesn’t make sense because we hear about other people recovering and getting better, even after being on a ventilator for many weeks. They responded to treatments and are now being strengthened with rehabilitative therapies. We are reminded that God allows hard things to happen. He chooses to heal some and allows others to die. But we are also reminded that there is life after death because of Jesus. And that is what brings us comfort, knowing that our friend believed in Jesus and declared him as her Lord when she got baptized. She was sealed by his Holy Spirit and is now with him rejoicing because her suffering has ended; her new life in heaven has begun.
For us and her family, this was an untimely death. For her, it was her time to go home. The peace and the love she felt when she saw Jesus standing to welcome her was an exciting and glorious moment! She acquired her inheritance and is now waiting for her loved ones to join her. She will be mourned and missed for what feels like a very long time. But we will see her again because we also received the same seal of God’s Holy Spirit. For now, we must keep moving on in faith. We must keep sharing the gospel and ministering to the saints. The Lord is always with us and he will eventually turn our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11).