Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the sun is peeking out

I am so thankful that the sun has decided to make an appearance this morning. It's been a gloomy several days, in more ways than one. Last Thursday night, I held my aunt's hand as she took her last breath of this life. She was my dad's sister, and although they are now together again, their baby sister is here without them. It's very sad.

Rheba was diagnosed almost 14 years ago with Stage 4 Ovarian cancer. She should not have survived it, but she did. For nine years, she was cancer free and then just before my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she found that her's had returned. So, for four years now, she has fought and had treatment after treatment after treatment. Her cancer numbers were down. She was going to have a break from chemotherapy. Then she had a necessary surgery, that she was expected to recover from. Instead, her body started to shut down. She was just worn out. And her Father started to call her Home.

I'm very grateful to have been able to spend time with her in the hospital, particularly those last two days, which while difficult, also held a distinct beauty. I sang to her, read scripture to her, and told her I loved her. She also rolled her eyes at me several times, which makes me smile now. See, I know there are those that believe we didn't pray hard enough or with enough faith. That if we had, God would have healed Rheba to stay here on earth. I adamantly disagree with that stand. Could God have healed her in the state she was in? Absolutely. She had 14 years more than statistics gave her. The Truth is this: God did heal her, in the most amazing and wonderful way. He called her Home. And by His very hands He healed her as He wiped away her every tear. She is completely and irrevocably healed. And I am praising Him for that. Am I sad? Yes, very. But I am rejoicing for my aunt who will never again fight cancer.

God's word tells us that death is truly a good thing:

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
2 Corinthians 5:1-9

Did you see that? We are confident... and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Seems quite clear to me that the death that so many fear and want to be kept from by (their own) faith or by healing, is actually what we were made for. When we live our lives for Jesus, accepting Him as our Lord, we work to glorify Him while we are here, but the truth is that we don't belong here. Rheba has been "swallowed up by life." I take comfort in that.

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."
C.S. Lewis

So, the sun is peeking out. While the sadness remains, and will remain as I have learned, the Son reminds me of a hope that will not disappoint. The hope of a forever life in our true country.

My friend Jon sang this song with me at the Celebration of Life service we had for Rheba on Monday. Thanks again to Jon, Brandon and Allison for singing with me. I'll never forget it and could never have done it without you.


Erika said...

I will celebrate with you and keep you and your family in my prayers!

tamara said...

You and your family are in my prayers. And it is nice to know she will no longer have to fight or suffer.

Rebecca said...

Praying for your family!

Heidi said...


Your post brought such a comfort to me today. Thank you for reminding me of that Bible verse. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


Heather said...

So beautifully written! You and your family will be in my prayers!

carrie said...

You will all be in my prayers. I totally agree with your comments. God could heal everyone but our ultimate Home is with Him. That is where we should all want to go. I know it is a blessing that she doesn't have to fight and battle any longer. By the way, I love that song. It is one of my favorites!