Fourteen years ago, at the beginning of Thanksgiving week, my mom went home to our Lord. It is a week that brings mixed memories and feelings; but there is always the joy of knowing that she is with Him and knows Him.
Mom battled cancer, on and off, for seven years. It was during this time that she learned who her Savior was, the depth of His love for her, and that He was with her – she was not alone.
Praise be to God who was so loving and gracious toward her in those years! He provided doctors, nurses, and medical staff who ministered to her as if she was their own. When the cancer was in remission, she traveled to Mexico to visit her family, not once, but twice!
God also blessed us with a more intimate relationship. After the cancer returned, she and I would spend all day at the hospital waiting for her chemotherapy session. She shared much about her childhood and I learned what made her who she was.
When we got the news the cancer had gotten worse, God was with us. He poured out His love and grace on her. I remember that Monday because she saw a difference between us. She asked me, “Why is your faith so different from my faith?”
“Mom, I have a very personal relationship with Jesus. He is real to me, He lives in me, and He loves and takes care of me like no one else does. He wants to do the same for you.”
Then she asked, “So, why is He punishing me?”
I said something along the lines of, “Mom, Jesus is not punishing you. Our bodies are growing old and sometimes they stop working the right way. The important thing is that Jesus loves you, is with you, and is for you. I know this is hard for you, but look at what He has done for me. I have been sick for a very long time, but Jesus gives me the strength to live every day. I am living proof of His love and care.”
We had several conversations about God throughout the remainder of the year. She found much comfort in getting to know Jesus and spending time with Him. Now that she is at home with Jesus, she knows Him better than I do!
Christmas is coming; I know I will think about and miss her. But I have this one comfort and joy: One day soon, because Jesus is our Savior, we will be reunited. We will see each other as God intended and share in the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am looking forward to that day! In the meantime, I will keep what Paul said in Philippians 1:21 in mind,
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
The Lord bless you, my friend.