So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.~John 16:22 NLT
They are gone, but not forgotten.
In our area of the United States, hummingbirds arrive in late March or early April and hang around until mid-October. A few weeks before their arrival, I hang three feeders for the scouts who arrive earlier to find so they can tell the later arrivers. One feeder outside our back-porch window, one outside our dining room window, and one outside our kitchen window. Almost anywhere we sit or stand in the house, we can view the beautiful little birds feeding.
Hummingbirds are diligent little creatures. Even with three feeders, I must refill the feeders two to three times each week. And, the birds, though small, are extremely aggressive and territorial. One will sit atop the feeder or perch on the feeder stand, waiting so they can run off any intruders. Their wings beat furiously, and their flight speed is amazing, requiring a lot of nectar to keep them going.
As the season wears on, the number of hummingbirds diminishes. Then, one day, they are gone. I miss their antics . . . their beauty. I miss them hanging in mid-air, watching me through the window or door. But I know if I hang feeders in the spring of next year, they’ll return. They’re dependable. God has placed this instinct within them.
Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.~Psalm 39:4 NLT
Jesus knew His followers would sorrow over His departure, as well. They had followed Him around for three years, and now He was leaving for Heaven. But He told them not to sorrow. They would see Him again when their eyes closed in death.
I mourn too when I think of all my loved ones who have gone on. As I get older, fewer of them are around, and I think of the time when I’ll no longer be around for my children and grandchildren. I miss sitting around with my grandparents and hearing their stories. I miss the cousins, aunts, and uncles whom death has captured.
But their examples keep me going in the right direction. I remember their love for God, how they taught their family about God’s love, how they shared their faith, and how they lived a consistent Christian example. They may be gone, but they are not forgotten.
And most of all, I have the example of Jesus, just as the early disciples did. His example, more than any other, prods me on in the faith journey. As He promised to return for His early followers, so He has promised to do the same for all His children.
Don’t let the death of friends and family rob you of the memories you have of good examples. They may be gone, but you don’t have to forget them.
Share a memory of a favorite loved one, and how this spurns you to keep the faith.
Father God, may the memories of our godly ancestors keep us going in the faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2022: Gone, but Not Forgotten: Martin Wiles: All Rights Reserved