Monday, October 15, 2007

I Can Only Imagine

Though many find great comfort in thinking about heaven, I have not allowed myself to dwell much on thoughts of heaven. I know that seems odd for a man who has just seen the love of his life go to that great prepared place. I do not know why, but dwelling on heaven does not seem to bring me great comfort. In time, I am sure the truth of God's word about heaven will bring immeasurable comfort to me; but it isn’t a thought to which I want to run right now.

I have had moments when I have found comfort in the thought of seeing Tammy again. While swimming in just such a moment recently, something happened. I could picture Tammy, with a familiar look on her face—one she wore when she confronted me with the truth of either my bad attitude or something not so true that I was saying. Though I did not delight in seeing that look, it was one of her greatest acts of love. General Douglas MacArthur called his wife, Jean Marie, the general's general. Every general needs a general and, at times, Tammy was my general--a corrective source for my thoughts and crazy ideas. I miss her pure truthfulness and honesty, which was always seasoned with love and respect. During this recent brief moment, I imagined her, with that familiar look on her face, saying, "You know, Honey, before you see me, there is someone else you need to talk to first." I was flooded with deep conviction and realized that, in my grief, I was forgetting my Lord. I then did what I have often had to do: I repented. I asked the Lord to forgive me for allowing the thought of Him once again to fade.

The Lord can fade into the background of our pain, when grief makes us even more self-centered than usual. At that point, the truth may seem cruel, but it is not. We do not need a free pass. We need someone to tell us the truth; however, few are willing to do that, because they stand in awe of our pain and suffering.

I thank God for a faithful friend and wife who told me the truth when it was hard, inconvenient, or unpleasant. Thank you, Jesus, for creating Tammy and for giving her to me as my precious friend and partner in this oneness called marriage. My forgiven heart longs to see you, Lord; but, close by will be my friend, Tammy, who outlives life itself. I can only imagine.

Upon his wife’s death, Vance Havner said: "Death can hide; but not divide. She is with Christ on life's other side. She is with Christ and Christ is with me. United still in Christ are we."

Ed Litton


Anonymous said...

Dear "Eddie",
When Bruce and I jump into the car after Sunday morning services, the first thing he always ask is, "How was it?" ....and I give my trueful, honest assessment....often followed by...did you polish your shoes?...they looked dusty!!...I know you will miss those moments. That's one of the little jobs of a pastor's wife!!...among many others. I love reading your blogs. I was wondering if you were reading Vance know, he was always my dad's favorite! Keep blogging.......
Love, Martha Schmidt

Anonymous said...

There is so much joy because of the hope of His Great Salvation. Knowing we are a part of eternity makes it all fit together. Yes there is real life in Jesus!
I'm praying for you and I love you,
Gary Bates

Anonymous said...


Thanks for reflecting on the beauty of what it means to have a godly wife in the midst of your grief. It helps me appreciate the sanctifying gift He has given me.

Mike Dodson

Anonymous said...

Bring It On Pastor!!!