O death, Where is your sting?

I just got over a nasty flu. Last night, as I lay in bed on my husband’s chest, it seemed he had caught it too. He has asthma, as his mother did before him.  It took her life when she was in her fifties.  My mind raced, wandering and afraid. I prayed aloud for his safe keeping, and against sickness and disease. I quoted promises of God’s word and said them out loud as well. Yet all the while there were nagging doubts. Under the words, my heart said, “But there is no guarantee. There is no making it happen. He could just as easily get sicker and die.”

I laid there aware that God knows my heart, my thoughts, my doubts. I thought of bold and aggressive prayers against a persistent enemy. I thought about being stronger and praying louder and yelling at the devil. Putting my foot down! Not giving an inch.

I went round and round all the while wondering what good it does. And then, a clear whisper in my mind,

the trying of your faith…is more precious than gold refined in a fire

and then…

the trying of your faith worketh patience.

My very faith was on the line. What good does it do to believe?  When time and again, it doesn’t seem to work?

But then I see Jesus and I let go.

Let go. Open your hand. Give it to me. Rest.

He giveth his beloved sleep.

Take your rest now. For this day’s troubles are enough.

I turned over and let my worries float away.  I saw a woman on her knees with a rosary, frantically praying and squeezing the beads in her fingers. I whisper to her, “Let go now. Open your hand. Rest.”

The Faith:

What is our faith all about? Is it answers to prayer? Is it based on outcome? Or is it based on trust? The Savior. The person.  The one who allows trials and troubles and tribulations, and purifying, and churning, and sorrows and suffering. Do we trust Him? Is He trustworthy?

Next, I am standing at the bedside of my mother who is dying of cancer. I am twelve. I have prayed. Yet she dies. I open my hand.

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There was another me who was dressed like a Warrior. She was grown. She stood next to the twelve-year-old me as I looked at my mother in the coffin and worked up the courage to kiss her forehead. She told me, This will all make sense one day. You must trust me.

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The warrior me has much to say about overcoming. About believing regardless of how the cards are dealt. Remembering that our enemy goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. His job is not difficult. There are trials and disappointments abounding all around us. Death has not been destroyed. Death is not our friend, or a nice guide to the other side. Death is the final enemy. And it will be cast into the lake of fire. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

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But the sting of death, the power of death, THAT, Christ removed. Not with a wiping away of it in the here and now. But with the promise that its teeth have been removed. Death is powerless in the face of the Resurrection. And Jesus IS the resurrection. Be of good cheer, he says, I have overcome the world.

 

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