We lost a Peninsula giant last week. With her recent health battles, you may not have known her or even have met her. But Georgia Childs was one of the sweetest and kindest women to grace our church. She had a tender and warm heart. Her love for her family had no end. And oh, how she loved Peninsula. Georgia and her late husband, Leo, had been around here a long time, a very long time. They were always (and I mean always) cheerfully supportive.

Georgia for years served on our deaconate, doing hospital visitation. I’d go to the hospital and more often than not (when she was healthy) she would have beat me to the bedside. Several people didn’t know who she was, but she had introduced herself to them and had a wonderful visit, with prayer. Her lovely southern drawl and warm, warm smile lit up every room she graced.

When her husband passed away 2½ years ago, Georgia was a model of grace and peace, through that very difficult adjustment for her. She was an amazing mother to Reggie and Leo, in a family with its share of pain and struggle. But Georgia’s faith never wilted. Ever.

The last conversation I had with her was a couple of weeks ago, she still lit up that hospital room with her smile — and her deep love of Jesus and joy in Him. Today, she’s lighting up heaven with that big smile of hers.

On the night before the fourth of July, I went to visit Georgia in the hospital. I didn’t know it would be the last time I’d see her this side of glory, but I wondered. I just knew I had to go. She could no longer communicate and that smile was covered up by medical technology. After a while, I asked if we could pray. So, Reggie, Leo, Dennis Shaffer, and I gathered around her bed, held her hands and prayed.

And in those moments, those very moments, Georgia met her Savior, face to face. By the time I said, “Amen,” she was gone. She woke up on heaven’s shores. There was no more need of that breathing apparatus. Disease was gone. Hope became sight. Georgia was more “home” than she had ever been here on earth. Our hearts broke. Her heart was whole.

So, Georgia, I miss you. You are deeply loved here at Peninsula. You have graced us for decades with your joy and faith in Jesus. We will carry on with your joy and faith until we are all together again with you, in the presence of the Savior.

It is in a moment like that Wednesday evening, that our faith as an anchor is tested. And made so real. What is the point of our faith, if you walk out of that hospital room with no hope of reunion? Sure, it is sad, heartbreaking actually. But we believe the promise of Jesus to provide eternal life. Therefore, in the valley of the shadow we do not have to be afraid. We have a living Savior whose hand guides us through the darkest valley of life, death.

My hope is renewed. My joy remains. Georgia’s with Jesus. Where all believers will be some day. He is risen. He is risen, indeed.