As I wait…wait…waiting is hard. I’ve waited for many thing in my life. I don’t like to wait. I’ve written before about waiting on another blog I author, you can read it here. Like the ordinary day I long to return, today is not ordinary waiting.
In pastoral care class, we learned that there are two Christian views of death. God rarely gives us one option. I sometimes wish God would be more absolute. It seems the saying that God puts comas rather than periods is true.
One view of death is that it is the enemy that must be conquered. As we approach Easter, we will sing Up from the grave He arose with a might triumph o’er His foes. Our songs of triumph will echo Christ’s triumph over the death and grave.
Healing, whether medical or spiritual, wants to prolong life and conquer death. From the search for the Fountain of Youth to late night TV infomercials we cling to life. From the latest advances in science to the latest book on how to receive healing, we challenge death.
Death is also part of God’s grace. Life is hard. Life is long. Life is tiring. One grows weary. For the saint of God, the ultimate expression of God’s grace is for Him to say, Enter into My Rest. God welcomes us into the place He has prepared for us.
This latter view of death is much less celebrated. It seems we prefer to cling to this life. We cling to what we know. We selfishly want to cling to those who are tired and weary.
Today I am waiting for death to come. I do not know when it will come. I do not know how it will come. We all watched my mother’s breaths closely yesterday. At times, we silently held our breath. Then a slight move of her chest would tell us, she’s still here.
Then suddenly, she awakes. She looks around at us. Without her glasses, I wonder what she sees. We are murky sad faces as she focuses to check who is here and who is not. She smiles when I mention her childhood friend Marguerite. I don’t know if anyone still calls her that but us. She goes by Marge to everyone else. Marguerite's evangelistic efforts persisted until her friend, my mother, accepted Jesus as her Savior at 13 during an early Pentecostal revival.
I told her that her oldest grandson was turning 50. She raised her eyebrows a bit as if surprised. Little signs of recognition and understanding seem to raise the hopes of those gathered in the room. I watch and wait. I read scripture to her out of a King James Bible. My words tripped over the language now foreign to me but soothing to her.
I do not know about the others in the room as we wait. I feel alone in my waiting. My view of death is that it is a grace that God gives the weary. Others in the room want to conquer it. They want someone in a white coat to come and do something. Set up an IV, give her a shot, take some blood, poke, prod and test until magic is performed and she conquers death.
None of us can conquer death. Only in the resurrection will we see the final victory over death. As I wait for God’s grace to be complete in my mother’s body, I hear my mother’s oft repeated phrase:
I don’t know why I am still here, I just want to go home to be with Jesus.For 78 years, she has walked with Her Savior and Lord. She wants to see Him face to face.