My daughter recently told me a story I could not get out of my mind, so I want to share it.
Usually when family, relatives, and friends view the beloved in the casket, there is silence, hushed sobs, maybe a faint whisper or two, but not at this viewing. Gasps followed by muffled giggles were heard, heads turning, some leaning in for a closer look, one man even removing and cleaning his glasses, and a shared restlessness.
Viewers expected to see folded hands, possibly holding a small black Bible or a rose. Instead an old dinner fork was wedged between her hands.
When her husband detected the unasked question on everyone’s lips, he reverently and humbly approached the casket and began to distribute 5 x 7 floral cards with the message of the fork.
“Growing up on the farm, after the evening meal as mom cleared the table, everyone waited to hear that welcome reminder, ‘Keep your fork.’
“For me, that meant, the best was yet to come, her carrot or chocolate cake, or one of her cherry or apple pies. For years those prayed-for three little words, ‘Keep your fork’ resounded in my mind.
“After the Lord took her home, I found among her funeral arrangements, her request to be buried with a fork in her hand. ‘I want it to be a symbolic reminder that for all who die in the Lord, the best is yet to come’.”
What does that mean?
Here are four of the possibilities she may have had in mind. We are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb for the bride has made herself ready (Rev 19:9); we’ll be in the new paradise, “on each side of the river stood the tree of life, yielding its fruit every month,” a metaphor for everlasting nourishment (Rev 22:2); God the chef will “on this mountain [Zion] prepare a feast of rich food, a banquet of aged wine–the best of meats (Isaiah 25:6); and we’ll savor forever, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth,” an insatiable appetite for the life-changing Word of God (Psalm 119:103).
So when we hear God say, “Keep your fork” and our taste buds start salivating, we’ll fall down in praise and gratitude before Him for the eternal dessert set before us, since the best has finally come.