On the last day of this year, just hours before the flipping of the calendar, my mother died after an extensive fight with Cancer. The road had been long and painful, but the death itself was relatively quick. Time after time my mother had shown her resolve, living even in her last moments with a desire to care for those she loved. Since her death, the family has talked in length about her self-sacrifice, her love, and most importantly, her faith.
A few days following her death, I took some time alone. I sat in a coffee shop with my journal, and began to write whatever words flowed out. I wanted to put to paper the myriad of thoughts, memories, and emotions that whirled within me. As part of this time, I began to reflect on my mother’s faithfulness. Here is what I wrote:
All the stories of her selflessness, her constant desire to put others before herself, to bless them, this was drawn from her deep love for Jesus. It was because she fed herself constantly on the grace of God that she could, even in her most painful of days, look to the blessing and betterment of others. She longed to put on Christ, to serve as he served, to bless as he blessed – to be a witness and a sign to the very kingdom in which she lived.
As such, her faith was not an escape. It did not shield her from the difficulty of life – it provided no retreat from the torment of cancer. Her faith did not make the road easier – for in some respects it led her more deeply into her own suffering. It highlighted the home she longed for – the mansion to which Jesus would lead her. She embraced those painful days knowing she was embraced by the one who walked his own suffering road. She sat and cried knowing her tears were matched by the one who wept blood in the darkness – but over whom the darkness would never prevail. And so she could, in the midst of all pain and hurt, live in faith and hope.
With her eyes fixed upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of her faith, she grasped the eternal hope rooted in his victory. Where, O Death is Your Victory? Where O death is your sting?
And now she resides in blessed rest, experiencing the fulfillment of the longing of her soul. She breathes in full the grace and joy only partially experienced in this fragile world. She is embraced in the loving arms of Jesus where she again weeps – not in sorrow or sadness – but in joyful eruptions of delight at the vision of the Lamb upon the throne. Her eternity is one of rejoicing for she spends it in the very activity she loved here on earth – the praise and worship of her Lord and Savior.
And so even in this loss we can join in her song and say Hallelujah.