The day Herb died left a rush of emotions for all who loved him. Sadness for loss. Relief of no more pain. Joy in eternal life. And absolutely no regrets. The family kept vigil by his side for weeks. Love expressed by their presence in his last days on earth. Our Britney made a solo drive to Oklahoma City weeks before his departure, just to sit and hold her Pap’s hand, not knowing if it would be her last opportunity. She says he always had a good joke. They laughed together. Sometimes they cried. Looked at old pictures. Reminisced. These were moments she would treasure for a lifetime. No price tag on time spent with her beloved grandfather. A hospital bed in the living room. Visiting hospice. Loving and supporting Grandma, whose life would never be the same after 54 years with Herb by her side.
They had been losing him little by little over the past year, so their grieving was a long process. The day of his home going turned into celebration. They knew he was welcomed into Heaven’s gates with, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” A pastor and friend to thousands, Herb had impacted many lives across the country. Everyone loved Pastor Hull, or Herb, or Pap. I wish I had known him better. But I see him in the smile of his sons. I hear him in their sense of humor. I sense his faithfulness in his granddaughters. Each possessing some of his wonderful character traits.
Herb lives on in the lives of his children and grandchildren. The twinkle in his eye. His smile. His love. All still there. They repeat his jokes. Share his laughter. Feel his hugs. They live on under his godly influence. He has left a rich legacy. It’s seen not only in his family, but in the lives of those he touched through his years of ministry. Herb made a difference here. So it was hard to let him go. But the Hulls have hope because of their faith in Jesus Christ. They are not sorrowing like people without hope.
And now we want you to know what will happen to believers who have died
so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
The Bible shows us the way. So we won’t grieve like people without hope. That’s how the Hull family was able to celebrate in the midst of their grief. Herb had a lifelong hope…which is also theirs. Britney’s sister described their time together on Facebook. “So good to be with family. Worship music, tears, laughter, stories and hugs fill this house right now. Peace that comes from Jesus is so sweet.” Surrounded with God’s presence, they were able to rejoice in hope. The loss here is great, but the hope of spending eternity with Pap makes Heaven an even dearer place.
First the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.
Then together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth
will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
Then we will be with the Lord forever.
So encourage each other with these words.
Together again forever. Now that’s hope. And that’s why, through tears of loss for the here-and-now, the Hulls can rejoice in their hope for the future. Absent from the body, present with the Lord. May you find Herb’s Hope to be yours as well.