Everyone expects old people to die. That is to say, at least when they die it’s not as surprising as when a young, beautiful, passionate follower of Jesus is suddenly taken from this earth. Two days ago, a wonderful Ukrainian friend, sister, and missionary, Ira Zakharova, was ushered into the throne room of heaven. In my mind’s eye I can see the angels rejoicing, the Son rising to meet His beloved, and the Father satisfyingly proclaiming for all of heaven to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
The life well-lived is a life dedicated to God. This is the only way to have a full life. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The full life begins with a death—death to the fleshly nature, to carnal passions, to the sin that so easily entangles us, to our own self-will. Life then truly begins—new life in Christ, a pure cleansing, inexplicable joy, victory, and heart bursting with hope! Ira lived a full life even though she was taken to be with God at such a young age. Her passing reminds me of the verse, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Ira walked with God and is no longer on this earth, for the Lord has taken her.
Ira is now living the fulfilled promise. She is now living the completed life. And although the rest of us still gaze into heaven with questioning wonder, heaven has become even more real, even more of a desire, and even more of an expectant and glorious hope. Heaven has come near! I find that as more people whom I love pass into eternity, the more I long for heaven. The completed life is a life that no longer sees corruption. “The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” In Christ we can live the full life this side of heaven, and then finally realize the completed life when we enter into glory.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Not me. My eyes are filled with tears. Ira’s eyes are filled with Jesus. And His eyes are filled with delight as He rejoices over His friend, Ira, with gladness, as He quiets her with His love, and as He rejoices over her with singing. Well done, Ira. See you soon. I miss you so much.
I Corinthians 15:42-43