This past weekend I went with my family to a funeral for one of my wife’s aunts. We knew that Bonnie had died as a believer in Christ, so this was not a funeral of great sadness. Rather we could rejoice that she been delivered from the ravages of this world marred by sin.
My wife and I had been praying all week that the true gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ would be faithfully preached to the many unbelievers who would attend. I prayed that whoever would be leading the service would be faithful to the calling laid out in Scripture:
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
I never once imagined that the person preaching the gospel to all of those gathered would be Aunt Bonnie herself. You see, Bonnie had prepared her funeral. She had selected a couple of songs and written down the message she wanted conveyed to her loved ones. That message was the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. She had taken advantage of her last opportunity to bring glory to God and tell others of her great Savior. This is all the more remarkable in that, in recent years, Bonnie’s mind had been severely affected by dementia. But she must have had the foresight and the desire to prepare that message some time ago. Bonnie can definitely declare with the apostle Paul:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).
Through it all I was reminded that God does indeed answer prayer and that His ways are better than my ways. Hearing a stranger deliver the gospel at that funeral would have been great. But how much better for those in attendance to hear it delivered by Bonnie – a person they knew, trusted, and loved.
I hope and pray that I too can finish the race as well as Aunt Bonnie. I hope and pray that my life and my death can declare the gospel as clearly and as faithfully as she did this last weekend. And praise God for the answer to prayers.