The End, Continued
This week my parents’ church had to navigate an event that no one ever wants. A young woman in their church (well, I think she was about 40, so young in my book) found out six weeks ago that she had cancer, and about a week ago she died. She leaves a husband and two teenage sons behind. When my mom first told me about it I started crying. I thought about what it would be like to lose Michelle, or to know I was going to die and leave her and the kids behind. I can’t write it now without the tears starting to come.
A couple weeks ago the church got together to pray for her healing. They gathered around her, laid their hands on her, and asked God to spare her life. At the end of their prayers this woman raised her hands and said, “God your will is my will, no matter what that means. Help everyone here to understand that.” That is a woman who was living like she believed in the resurrection. I’m sure she didn’t want to leave her family. She loved them. But her simple prayer betrayed a deep sense of the continuity between this life and the next.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says that if there is no resurrection, and therefore no reason to hope in an eternal life, then we should be pitied. Believing in and following Jesus has immense implications for this life, but it is also a hope that death is not the last word. I heard about this woman and was amazed at her faith.
The reality is that we are all journeying toward an end to our time on earth. Whether we live a long life (by our standards, yet tiny in the scope of history), fail to make it past our first week of life, or find out we have a disease that will end our life in between, there is no stopping it. So I think our attitude about death says a lot about our faith in the resurrection of Jesus. Hearing about this woman just made me study my own reactions a little more deeply. And I pray that as my time approaches he continues to increase my faith to be like hers.