“I am surrounded by death.” These are my words I brought out as my husband brought home a deer last night. The first one of this season…and the first of a very long season of not getting one. I tried to be happy for him but…I still felt sad when I saw the once wild doe now limp and lifeless. I am happy for my hunter-gatherer man but…this week it is another death.
A sister in Christ went home last week to be with Jesus and one is on the way.
She stroked my hand with her thumb as we were holding hands…as if to comfort me. She said that she wants everyone to sing and dance and jump up and down as they sing Victory in Jesus. My husband tells her in tears that she has lived a glorious life.
This has been my past week and I am still just a bit emotional as I’ve stared death straight in the face a couple of times.
So how does one pass on with strength about her victory in Jesus? How does one have strength to watch those who are passing on?
I’m thinking of my sister in Christ who told us her story at bible study last week.
She told us about when her son, age 4, was diagnosed with cancer.
Devastated and overwhelmed with emotions, she couldn’t do anything. There was just one thing that she knew she had to use all of her strength to do. Not knowing where to go, she opened it up and let it fall where it may. John 9.
She began with reading as if she’d never read a book before. Like a first grader. So devastated that she couldn’t read…but she worked it out. She kept going through tears until she got through the first passage. Then she did the next, and the next, and felt peace. This is what she read:
“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3).
So this is what she did and it’s what she continues to do since his death. And she trusts that the hard things are glorifying God as his works are displayed in her and her family.
The guy in the book of John was healed but her little guy wasn’t. Yet she trusts that God’s works were displayed in him…them.
She said that they put new kids with cancer in her son’s room so that they would be encouraged by how they handled it and how they spoke to their boy about what was happening. The doctor said it was the most beautiful he had seen…what happened in the family and with him… as he went through his process of fighting and passing on.
She prayed and read the word. She spoke truths to her son. She spoke truths to herself.
I think of another woman I met once who was blind. Physically unhealed, but spiritually bringing glory to God.
We met her on a mission trip in the inner city of St. Louis. She was blind. They sent us to visit her…more for us than for her. We played games with her and she talked to us about Jesus. We looked around her room and compared her faith with the walls lined with braille bibles. Every book of the bible individually made large in braille was along her wall so she could find them most easily. She would think of a passage and knew just where to find the book shelved on the wall, bring it to the table and open up the pages to find the passage as she fervently searched for the right place. With her fingers. I was in awe as it became clear to me how diligently she had arranged her life in order to be able to…literally…get her hands on the Word of God.
A woman who can’t see. A woman who could barely get the words out. A woman waiting to see Jesus. All with wisdom and strength in loss or death.
And what about me? Do I line my walls of life and the walls of my heart with it? The Word. Especially in the hard times? The hard times that, in light of these, may not really be so hard. My pastor-husband said it last Sunday–that the hard times are not the times to get started in knowing God’s Word. Though better late than never. What would my life look like if I…now…feverishly attended to God’s Word…as these women did in their loss? What would the times of real heart-wrenching loss look like?
As I am surrounded by death this morning, I am also thinking of the glory of God and what He does in the midst of death and loss when ordinary people turn their hearts towards Him and His truths. He makes them glorious and we see Him and His glory. Surely…the works of God are being displayed in them.
Linking up with:
“Old Tree” photo by Amy Jung
Bible image from Google, no artist named.