The news of the death of a sister-in-Christ this week has filled me with conflicting emotions. Sadness for her loved ones runs side-by-side with comfort in knowing that this no-longer-suffering one is in the presence of our loving Heavenly Father. But added to the mix is a lingering question; why her and not me?
In particular I wonder why this sweet woman died after suffering from cancer while I have been given the all-clear signal from mine? After all, prayers were said for both of us. Why were mine answered while hers, seemingly, were not?
Perhaps I should clarify; both of us received answers… and ultimately, healing. The difference is that her healing is for eternity while mine is only temporary.
I am deeply aware that the fact that I was healed and she was not (here on earth) is due wholly to the compassionate goodness of God towards both of us. Period.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
Dying in the knowledge that you are loved and cherished by the Father is the ultimate blessing. But I would be less than truthful if I said I wasn’t grateful to be granted the opportunity to live longer among my friends and loved ones. The thought of having to say goodbye to them sooner rather than later is not a welcome one.
But when I think about the sister who is enjoying the love of our Father face-to-face, it makes me wonder… what unfinished business does Jesus have for me? Is there more that He wants to accomplish in and through me, for His glory, before it’s my turn to go home? I believe there is.
About eight years ago I was a mess. God allowed me to come to the end of myself so I could let go of the illusion that my efforts were in any way enough to save me. When I realized that I couldn’t and wasn’t supposed to rely on my own strength, I was reborn.
The deep-in-the-bones revelation of my redemption through my Savior and not myself has changed everything. For one thing, the fear of not making it to heaven is gone. Instead, it’s been replaced by a peace in knowing that when my time here on Earth is over, Jesus will take me to the home that He has already prepared for me.
For another, each day has become infused with a joyful confidence that comes from resting securely in God’s love now.
As a result, I’m glad that Jesus has granted me more time to have my frail faith bolstered with the knowledge of His amazing love for me. These years have allowed me to experience God’s grace and mercy in ways that have been life-changing.
And now, post breast cancer, I’m sensing a new urgency to grasp hold of all that Christ has for me; it’s mixed with a desire to not waste a single moment of whatever time is allotted to me.
In the past I was heedless of the gift of time. I shudder to think of the innumerable hours I have frittered away in attempts to avoid painful or sometimes simply boring moments.
I don’t want to do that anymore.
I’m filled with a longing to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” (Psalm 34:8 KJV) more than I ever have in the past. But how? How can I live more fully in Christ… today, tomorrow, and for all the tomorrows that follow?
In the following passage the Apostle Peter exhorts believers to live holy lives while awaiting the end of Earth as we know it.
“Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but we’ll hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:11-13 The Message)
Can you imagine being so consumed with longing for what comes in the hereafter that you “hardly notice” the chaos at the end of the world? Wow! I want that too!
But the wide divide between where I am now and where I want to be scares me a little. There’s an uneasy feeling that I won’t be able to accomplish what I want to do.
Wait… oh, yeah! It’s not my strength that’s going to get me from here to there… it’s His!
So for now I’m just going to keep pressing in to all that Jesus has for me with all of the ferver and strength He grants me.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18 ESV)
Let it be so, dear Jesus, let it be so…