A Life Honoring to God

"Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty- the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come." Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you please." 
Revelation 4:8b-11
Alexa Bigl writes:
This week we write to you with grief in our hearts and eyes turned to the Father for the hope He gives us. Brenda died Monday night. She is with the Lord now and we find comfort in the knowledge she is worshipping among the saints and angels. The worship song, Worthy of it All, based on Revelation 4, is where we draw our hope and comfort from. It was expressed in a profound way from a dear friend of mine last week: "We cannot even begin to comprehend heaven. We are so limited by our current worldview that we cannot understand worshipping 24/7 as appealing or fulfilling." These words struck me because it's something I have felt guilty for thinking before. I was amazed at the honesty and openness of my friend to speak these words, and speak them without shame. God knows us so well, none of our thoughts are secret to Him. We are not able to comprehend being completely satisfied with standing before Him and worshipping Him all the time. But our sister, Brenda, is standing before the throne of God now. And seeing His glory, she is filled to overflowing with complete worship, Scripture tells us this. It's not a last ditch hope we cling to, it's written in the Word of God and the ultimate hope given to us through Yeshua's death and resurrection. Reading through the lyrics from Worthy of it All, I simply praise God that Brenda is at this place now. 
"All the saints and angels, bow before Your throne. All the elders cast their crowns before the Lamb of God and sing. You are worthy of it all. You are worthy of it all. For from You are all things, And to You are all things. You deserve the glory."
Brenda is pictured second from the left, with fellow Shevet volunteers

This does not take away the emotions associated with Brenda no longer being on earth with us. We are sad and in pain. We are walking through this as a community, doing our best to support one another, especially Brenda's mom, Cheryl. The grief is real and we accept these feelings as the ultimate connection to being human. It's feelings that allow us to connect with God, it's emotion that leads us to lean on Him. So, we are grieving together while anchoring ourselves in the beginnings of understanding where Brenda is at right now. Thank you for praying with and for us. We declare victory over all things, including death, through the name of Yeshua Messiah. And Brenda has walked through the trials of this world and is now is in the victory; heaven! So, let's praise the Lord together in this time. 

How humbling to think just a few months ago Brenda was a vital part of all these works. She was planning parties for children, welcoming guests, going grocery shopping, visiting families at the hospital, and so much more. After struggling with pain in her side for a few weeks, a series of doctors visits, and some tests, Brenda was being told she had an aggressive, advanced form of cancer. And now, five months later, we will bury Brenda's body today at a sea-side cemetery next to our Jaffa base. Despite the trials of the last months, we are seeking to continue to trust in God's reign. Praise the Lord for the hope we have in Him. 
Jonathan Miles continues:

I wrote you last week at this hour about the wonderful way our father had intervened in my travel--when I finally relaxed and trusted him--so that I could arrive at our coworker Brenda's hospital bedside. Just three hours after I wrote, Brenda's breath and spirit returned to her creator. Brenda's mother and our senior nurse Alexa were there at her side.

Looking back now I'm filled with gratitude for the father's care. Not just that I didn't miss the opportunity to say goodbye to Brenda. But also that he gave us the faith to stand by her when she was first diagnosed with cancer. (We don't require health insurance in our community, but trust God together for our medical and all other basic needs as we seek first his kingdom).

He also gave us, and Brenda's mother and sisters who came to carry most of the load, the spiritual resources to be faithfully present for our sister as she went down this lonely road. Theresa, recently returned to the US, sent this picture when she heard of Brenda's passing:

brenda at worship
I loved that Brenda wanted to be out with her Shevet family whenever she was able to right up to the end.
What better place to be than worshipping God together!

And most of all I'm grateful for the trust that Brenda consistently showed in her father. We gathered by the seaside near our Jaffa home on Wednesday for the burial, and to give each the chance to speak a word:

What I remembered at that hour was that Brenda--while she grieved and struggled when she realized she was dying--never questioned God's will in allowing this to happen. So many of us believers say with Paul that it is better to be with the Lord, but when word comes that it is our turn we are undone and beg and plead that it may not happen! Brenda's one prayer was that she would not have to suffer long, and I believe that prayer was answered, in part through the loving care of our longtime partners at the Wolfson Medical Center. 
So let’s join our hearts as we go forward into the year, and ask for the God-pleasing faith of Job and of Jesus: though he slay us, yet will we trust him.