2 Corinthians 5:2-5 (NLT)
2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it�s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
The apostle reminds us at times we grow weary with this earthly life and long for the heavenly life waiting for us. He states it is not that we desire to die to be in heaven, but that we are being called there by the Holy Spirit with the guarantee of salvation given to us by Jesus Christ. It is in heaven we will receive new bodies, perfect, without flaw and without pain or suffering. But here in our earthly bodies we wait, serving God while feeling the pain of the sin left on this world.
May 31th, 1985 tragedy struck the Smith family in Lexington, SC. Shari Smith was abducted and later found murdered by Larry Gene Bell. Larry Gene Bell allowed Shari to write a letter of farewell to her family. She wrote, "Please don't let this ruin your lives. Just keep living one day at a time for Jesus. Remember, everything works out for the good to those that love the Lord. Some good will come of this." Difficult words to endure as a family knowing the fate of your loved one. One has to wonder how �good� could come of this.
Shari�s sister, Dawn a former Miss South Carolina, took Proverbs 3:5-6 and committed them in her heart, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" It seems hard to trust when you have been through a difficult time, but God says trust me and I will help you walk straight through this pain. Dawn has been a bold witness for Jesus sharing her testimony of a painful and healing walk with the Lord. Dawn has reached out to others in the name of Christ to share God�s mercy and grace. From Dawn�s website it says, �In 1989 Dawn received a letter from the man that killed her sister, and while on Death Row, he claimed to have met Jesus Christ, asking Dawn to forgive him for what he had done. Dawn shares how God brought her to the place of understanding how true healing from the hurts of life cannot take place apart from the supernatural act of forgiveness in our own lives. Later she would learn to not only forgive the murderer, but to daily choose forgiveness as a path to healing and wholeness. The brightest future will always be based not on a forgotten past, but on a forgiven past.�
We may desire at times to give up this painful life and be with the Lord, but God has a purpose for our lives here on earth. While the process may be painful God builds us up and prepares us to share His word to bring others to Jesus. All my sympathy goes to the Smith Family for their loss, but I also rejoice in knowing they will be reunited with Shari in the heavenly realms with Christ. May God bless those who knew Shari and may her loss bring gain and hope to others through Jesus Christ.