I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled series of Faith-Filled Moms because my friend Shari passed away from cancer less than twenty-four hours after my first guest blog about Faith-Filled Moms and Fighting Cancer was posted.
My friend had valiantly fought her sickness for years. She believed God was going to heal her. And so did I. We connected through Destined 4 the Dub’s blogs over the years. She shared that my writing really impacted her as she was standing in faith for her healing. Over the years I prayed for her and would send her inspiring texts whenever she ran across my mind, or if I read something that I thought would especially encourage her.
Last month, as I was preparing for this series, my mother shared with me that Shari was not doing well and was struggling with why God hadn’t healed her. To be honest, I struggled a bit with it as well. I declared and believed right along with her, and she lived much longer than the doctors had predicted.
But now she was gone. And God hadn’t answered our prayers. Or had He? I thought about it as my mom and I talked, and I wondered aloud why we didn’t view the death of Christians as healing?
As humans, it is our desire for our family and friends to live a long time, so we can enjoy life with them on earth. But with everything going on in the world, death seems to be hitting us more frequently. And we are struggling with it.
I never told Shari about the Faith-Filled Moms cancer series. And I’ve been struggling with why since the day she passed away. I used the excuse I was consumed with the “planning” and “tasks” of getting my series started, but if I’m being honest with myself, I didn’t reach out to her because I didn’t feel like I would be much encouragement when her physical condition was deteriorating.
I wanted to check in on her, but how could I send her information about having faith when she felt like hers didn’t work? I know she subscribed to the blogs, but I don’t know how sick she was and if she saw read the first blog that morning before she left us. But if she didn’t, I know she’s living out the theme of Markisha’s story right now. She has re-discovered God in the most meaningful way.
What if when a Believer passes away, we immediately picture them at their Heavenly birth celebration, meeting Jesus for the first time. We sing songs about going to heaven, so why isn’t it a more joyous occasion down here on earth when it actually happens for our loved ones?
What if we are getting it wrong? Well at least partially wrong when we are devastated by the death of a Believer in Jesus Christ? I know that Jesus wept in John 11:35 after Lazarus died and that it is a natural human emotion to feel grief and sadness after death.
But what if every time a wave of grief hits us, we can redirect that thought into our loved one sitting in the presence of Jesus – fully healed, fully loved, fully free, and full of joy?
An important realization I’ve gotten from this experience is that every interaction with someone may be your last – whether it’s in person, via email, phone, text, etc. You don’t want to have any regrets about your final contact with a loved one.
Additional insight is when someone runs across your mind, there is a reason. The next time that happens, reach out and check on them. You may not get the opportunity again. Even if you are hesitant about what to say, especially if they are facing something as serious as cancer, contact them anyway. You don’t always need to have something deep and profound to say. Just let them know you are thinking about them and how much they mean to you.
I’m so sad that I won’t get to see or communicate with Shari again on earth. But she has finished her race. She is with Jesus. There is no place else in the entire universe that she would rather be right now.
And I will get to see her again one day. Now isn’t that worth celebrating?