Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, NIV)
On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, my father-in-law, Tom Cuffe, went to live with Jesus. Notice, I didn’t say to “be with Jesus,” because for the thirty-one years that I have known Tom he has been with Jesus, following him faithfully every day of his life.
This morning, Tom’s kids found the following quote written in his handwriting on the inside cover of his well-worn Bible:
You are writing each day a letter to men, take care that the writing is true. For the only gospel some men will read is the gospel according to you.
I know from observation that Tom took this quote to heart. He loved well his wife, children, grandchildren, family, friends, strangers, enemies and even . . . son-in-laws.
He lived by the Ten Commandments and by the law of Love that emanates from the “Old Rugged Cross” of Jesus Christ.
As the family gathered around Tom’s bed last night and cried at his passing, I just know that he heard from the Lord these words,
“Tom when I read over the letter of your life, it looks a lot like Jesus. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
The picture above is one I took a couple of years ago as Tom made his way into one of his favorite places, The Cedars, in Glacier Park, Montana. Looking at it now it causes me to think of Tom making his entrance into Heaven, but on this side of things I see through a glass darkly.
In light of Jesus, the one who died and rose again, the picture I took transforms: the trees explode in beauty and give Tom a standing ovation upon his entrance into Heaven, the walker he leans upon falls away, his back straightens and his wobbly totter is traded for the smooth and lively step that he is known for when dancing with Carol, his bride of sixty years.
Surrounded by friends and family, Dina's father passed away at 9:20 p.m. yesterday. He was my father-in-law. I already miss his coy little smile and the twinkle in his eye.
We all miss him, and we grieve his passing, but not as those who have no hope.