Sitting in the congregation, I stared at the slideshow depicting precious pictures of the brief 4 years of Susana Whittaker's life. What a doll! Tears once again welled up in my eyes, but I quickly worked to suppress them. "Not today!" I thought to myself. "I'm celebrating today!" Instead, I turned my gaze to my friend beside me and struck up a conversation with her, which ultimately led back to sweet Susana and her amazing family. Again...the tears wanted to blind my sight. Once again, I suppressed them.
The funeral home attendants soon asked us to stand, as the family made their way into the sanctuary. The service began, and we worshipped. We worshipped the God of the universe, the One who called Susana home just a few short days ago. We worshipped the One that ordained every single one of her days before even one of them came to be (Psalm 139). We worshipped the One that calls the death of His faithful servants...precious in His sight (Psalm 116).
Beautiful words were spoken. Beautiful praises were sung. Beautiful pictures were displayed.
Susana's dad, Cody, greeted the congregation - first with words bathed in scripture. My tears poured again, but this time - with a smile on my face. God's Word...in action...right before my eyes. Amazing. But, what followed melted my heart. Cody played his guitar and sung Susana's favorite worship song with deep conviction as evidenced by the faith of both of Susana's parents...You Never Let Go. The words of the chorus still ring in my ears..."Still I will praise you. Still I will praise you." Here stands this father...having endured within the last year the tragic Haitian earthquake of 2010, malaria, Susana's cancer diagnosis and treatment, and now the earthly death of his 4-year-old daughter...here he stands, boldly singing, "Still I will praise you. Still I will praise you." To God be all the Glory!
A few more words spoken. Then, we began to sing... the gospel put to song.
At this point, I simply live by faith...faith in the fact that Susana now resides in heaven. Faith in fact that God did heal her of her crippling disease of cancer - just not this side of heaven. And, for me, faith is enough until I reside with the King of Kings in heaven. But, for Susana...her faith is now her sight! Blessed be the name of the LORD!