Today, I stop to pay tribute to Barbara, a dear sister in Christ and co-worker at my company that received her promotion to glory this past Saturday, after a long battle with cancer. She leaves behind her husband Thomas, plus children, grandchildren, siblings, and other family and friends. Below is the letter I sent to them, as part of a “memory book” that friends assembled for Thomas and his family.
Dear Thomas and family,
My deepest condolences to you and your family as you both mourn Barbara’s departure from this life and celebrate her home-going to be with the Lord.
I thank God for the privilege and opportunity to get to know and work with Barbara. She was always the consummate professional, ready to take on a new challenge and learn something new. Her knowledge of the company’s business processes, computer systems, and people were amazing. As a “newbie” at my company, I found myself at her doorstep more than once in search of answers about various work topics. When people walked into a room where Barbara was, she always had a smile and kind word for them.
On a more personal note, I had a few opportunities to pray with Barbara. These are experiences that I will never forget, and have changed me forever. Barbara had such a deep faith in and heart for the Lord. When she prayed, it was like she was sitting down at the kitchen table, having a conversation with her lifelong best friend. Listening to Barbara pray, and sensing her deep friendship with the Lord was and continues to be a great encouragement to me and my walk with Christ.
When I think of Barbara, I am reminded of Hebrews chapter eleven, often referred to as the “great roll call of faith”. I can imagine Barbara being introduced around by Jesus, doing the “meet and greet” with the likes of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, Solomon, and so many more. What joy Barbara is experiencing, being in the company of like giants of the faith.
Thomas, for you and your family, I am reminded of Hebrews chapter twelve, where the writer begins with “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1a, NIV). I imagine Barbara in heaven’s grandstands, on her feet, cheering you and your family on!
The author of Hebrews goes on and says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1b-2, NIV)
Barbara was an amazing example of a life focused on the Lord, and joyfully shared with family and friends. May we all fix our eyes on Jesus, run the race set before each of us, and finish well, hearing “well done” from Jesus, as Barbara is hearing now.