By Glenda Lesher
“God, you’ve made a mistake!” “You’ve given me more than I can bear!” Those were my angry thoughts when my mother was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer. She never smoked a day in her life and God had used her to influence others for Christ. I felt cheated, wishing I could have more time with her. The doctor gave her six months to live, but she only lived six weeks. It didn’t seem fair. I prayed for healing, but the answer never came – at least not in the way I wanted it
Thankfully, my perspective changed. Though the grief is still fresh today, I surrendered my anger to God who revealed His grace over and over during that difficult time. During the last nine days of her life, she was in hospice care surrounded by our family. She rallied to have some quality time with us and we were thankful. On the day before her death, her frail arms reached toward us for hugs. I’ll never forget that even though she hadn’t talked for two days, she spoke the name of her oldest grandson as he held her: Steven. That night, our pastor joined us in encircling her with prayer, hand in hand. It was a sacred moment, even though we knew the end of her life was near.
I can finally see that God was being merciful in shortening the time of her suffering. Her last breath on earth was taken in the presence of her family, and in the next instant she was with Jesus, healed.
The day of her funeral I woke up at peace and (gulp) joyful that the service was going to be a celebration of her extraordinary life. Even the weather cooperated. The previous day had been typical of a cold and rainy January, but that day the sun came out and it warmed up – almost like Mother’s favorite season, spring.
Of course I will always miss my mother terribly, but as the Scripture reminds us, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. First Thessalonians 4:13-18 comforts us with the promise of the resurrection and of meeting the Lord and our loved ones again. Regardless of the crisis in our lives, if we look beyond the grief we can see God’s grace always actively working, ever present and never passive. Through my grief, God revealed the abundance of His grace and I know I’m going to be all right. Why? Because it’s clearer than ever to me that our lives are in His hands and He doesn’t make mistakes.