Marilyn J. Hunter

LAST WEEK, after attending my sister Marilyn’s funeral in New Jersey, I made a quick run to see the house in Branchville in which both of us had been born and brought up. The house had not been grand, but it was home.




I’d been warned what to expect but was still shocked. The porch with its rocking chairs and railings and stone pillars, on which we had played so long ago—gone. Nothing but rubble, the house totally gutted. But on the back was the foundation for a new addition. (See my bedroom windows—upper left and upper right.)


My bedroom’s back-corner windows


Back to sister Marilyn and her love of music. Among the possibilities for sudden death, choking is not one of the preferred. It is sudden, though—over in minutes. And for a believer, it morphs into incredible peace and joy in the loving presence of Jesus, our Savior. The Apostle Paul got a tiny glimpse when he was caught up into paradise but could find no words to describe it. Others who experience near-death events have had similar glimpses, and NONE want to return to this life. What’s NOT to like in heaven?

Marlyn, with granddaughters Kelly and Christina

Marilyn was not in good shape, having dealt with Parkinson’s for 20 years. An empty, gutted shell, WAITING to be rebuilt.

Her death, though, marked the beginning of Real Life for her, and she heard music beyond anything she’d ever experienced in this life–and that’s saying a lot! Did Jesus plunk her in front of a keyboard and ask her to play for Him? Worship music swirls around the throne of our Lord.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive honor and glory and power and blessing.

Jesus, the glorious, sacrificial Lamb, gave His life to pay for our wrongdoings and rose from the dead to seal that life-giving exchange.

Marilyn is home now. We still have tears, but like the future of the house in which both of us were born, she has been rebuilt—through love—into the beautiful person God created her to be.

Houses and bodies are subject to decay, but our Lord Jesus Christ has His arms open to welcome those who love Him into heaven’s magnificent completeness.

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