Life is funny sometimes. I become embroiled with seemingly important matters. Harried because of a supposed deadline, irritated because someone was rude or incompetent, disappointed in myself for failing to accomplish everything. Then, in the midst of the whirlwind, my cell phone buzzes.
Today, it was a text about someone near to the 3ABN Family. She’s valiantly battled cancer, yet it metastasized and the pain has become unbearable. She’s been sent home on hospice; her children have flown in. Nothing to do now but wait. Yet, in the midst of facing eternity, her spirit is strong and her faith even stronger.
How does one face death with such faith?
She was a beautiful girl. Perfect light-brown skin, dark eyes, pink cheeks, and a smile that lit up the room. I spotted her across the faces of people in the church where we were sharing the Word of God and meeting our 3ABN Family. Slowly she and her mother made their way through the crowd, until I could reach out and hug her.
Behind that smile lay a deep heaviness, a dark, painful story. Her sister had died while they were both still teenagers. She struggled to cope, to find purpose in life and motivation to serve Jesus.
Why do we feel the need to hide our pain behind a smile?
Her skin caught my attention first. For an older woman, it was still smooth and fresh. I reached out to hug her, thanking her for being part of our 3ABN Family and in that moment she spoke. “I need to tell you my story.”
We stood, holding hands, as she shared the heartbreak of not one, but two sons who had died. One by natural causes, the other at the hands of another. It told of unspeakable grief, and even deeper forgiveness.
Devastated, one night she fell asleep with the TV on, crying out to God. When she awoke, by some miracle 3ABN was playing on the screen, and that’s how she began her journey to healing and wholeness, to Jesus and the truths in His Word. Here was a woman who had tasted the dredges of life, yet somehow emerged stronger. Broken, yet buoyant. Hollow, yet healing. Discovering Jesus and His grace, more and more each day.
How does one cope with such loss and emerge stronger?
I sit at my desk, and stare out at the pond, pondering the perspective of life. When did first-world problems become all consuming? How does one hold onto Jesus through anything? Perhaps the answer lies not within myself, but in the God I serve. It’s a matter of keeping things in perspective, and allowing Him to hold onto me, for my grip is never strong enough. If He can hold the worlds, surely, He can hold me. Maybe, for today, that’s enough.