My very dear friend Paulette Hopple died on Thursday morning. It was sudden, yet not unexpected. For 20 years she'd had a death sentence over her because of a rare form of scleroderma which had attacked her lungs. Through much prayer God gave her more strength, vim and vigour than most of us without any disease. She was someone who never did anything by halves... it was always full on.
I've always been impressed with her keen interest in people, and no matter who they were she wanted to know them, was concerned for them and wanted to encourage them in whatever way she could. I remember on a visit with her earlier this year in Mae Sai. She would always speak with the beggars who'd come across from Burma; she wanted to know who they were, what language they spoke and what were the circumstances of their life that had brought them to begging. Invariably she would give them some money or pay for a good meal for them. I found this care about people to be quite overwhelming.
She had been serving God in Asia. While on a 6 week trip for language data collection and a literacy workshop she experienced increasing difficulty with breathlessness at the slightest exertion. She knew it was bad but did not stop until completing the literacy workshop in which training was given to speakers of the ethnic language with whom she worked. These folk were being trained to be literacy teachers for their own people in their own language. After this her breathing become more laboured and she ended up in hospital. Her heart was unable to oxygenate her blood and gave out just after midnight December 18.
I miss her, and will continue to do. She was a good friend to me. We've been friends since being in grad school together in the mid 70's, so it's been a long blessing.
All her friends and colleagues around the world are in shock, and feeling deeply the effects of sudden loss. Though it seems as if her life was cut short, it wasn't. It was God's time for her. It might not suit us, or make sense to us, but it was definitely God's time.
This mornming I was reading John 14:1-3 and was impacted afresh by Jesus' words when he said: "I am going to prepare a place for you ... When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am." Jesus had finished preparing Paulette's place and came to get her! Wow! And, I'm sure she was ready to go and knew it was time.
When will our places be ready? Will we be ready to go with Jesus when comes to get us? I pray we will. I pray I will.
Bless you all!