Trillia Newbell: The wisdom of love

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, March 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. The Bible teaches in many places for us to wait upon the Lord. Psalms 37 for example: …those that wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth.

But there’s another kind of waiting. And Trillia Newbell advises against it.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: A restaurant is an odd place to go search for a thermometer. But, alas, there she was, on the hunt for something to take her temperature. My sister always was the determined sort.

I lost her at some point during her panicked search. I began to call out for her. After a few minutes of wandering around, I caught sight of her. Without hesitation, I ran up to her as if I hadn’t seen her in years.

“We’ve been searching for you. I’m so glad I found you,” I said as I squeezed her tight.

I wouldn’t let go. I hated the idea of letting go.

Oddly, her face was turned away from me. More odd, I didn’t want to see it. I remember thinking: Please don’t turn around. I don’t know what your face will look like.

I was slightly frightened by the thought. She didn’t turn around, but if she had, I would have said, I love you! Instead, I just continued to hold on tight.

And then I woke up.

My oldest sister passed away on what would have been her 40th birthday. That was seven years ago. And that dream of me holding my sister lingers in my mind. Holding her tightly seems so appropriate to me.

I’ve heard senior adults say they spent their younger years attending weddings and their latter years attending funerals. I’m finding that to be true—even though I’m nowhere near senior status. In recent years I’ve almost equally attended funerals and weddings.

I don’t have many regrets in life. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I do believe the Lord has used them to refine me, teach me, and make me more like His Son.

But if I could go back to the Sunday night before my sister suddenly died, I would have shared something encouraging to her. I would have told her how much I loved her. I would have been less busy with my own schedule and more attentive to her needs. I would have listened to her that night.

But I didn’t do those things.

We don’t know how long our friends and family will be with us, but if we have them today, then we have an opportunity. And I have decided to no longer wait for a eulogy to tell those I love dearly why I love them.

They won’t need that encouragement in eternity. They need it today.

Encouragement isn’t ultimately about telling one another how good we are. It’s actually reminding each other how good God is and what he has done. Remind your friends of the ways they reflect God as image bearers in their love, hospitality, care, whatever it may be.

And when you do, you’ll be fulfilling the words of the Apostle Paul: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess 5:11).

So I hope you’ll join me. Find people who could use some encouragement. Perhaps it’s the friend you haven’t spoken with in a while. Or maybe it’s your estranged brother. Maybe it’s your spouse or children.

What would you say in their eulogy? Tell them today. Don’t wait.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.

(Photo/Creative Commons)

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