You all know I am reading through my Bible this year if you have followed this for any length of time.
You also probably know that, for me, God’s timing is so spot on it gives me joy, tears mixed with giggles and fills my heart with praise for the intimate ways He chooses to remind us He is with us.
It just so happens on this day before Thanksgiving in the year of 2020, with no planning on my part to land in 2 Corinthians 5 today; God knew I would be reading the words that brought me such great comfort twelve years ago.
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality should be swallowed up by life.2 Corinthians 5:4-5
That mortality (death) should be swallowed up by LIFE.
On January 30th of 2008 I had read this passage and marked in my Bible “Revelation! It is LIFE that swallows/destroys death.”
The year progressed and I can’t say this discovery of truth made much of a difference beyond that morning when I felt compelled to pen those thoughts in the margin and decorate with several hearts for emphasis.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that same year, I got a call in the wee hours of the morning that my mother had been found laying beside her bed. She had struck her head on the nightstand from a fall. Apparently she had used her slipper to knock on the wall as best she could and a neighbor finally heard on waking, alerting the staff in the independent living center.
The ambulance was on the way and I quickly dressed and headed to the hospital. Entering the ER treatment area, I could hear her monotone voice through the curtain as the nurse emerged from her room. Only God could have the nurse on duty be one of our former teens from church. His eyes confirmed my fear. She had followed the steps of her own mother and suffered a massive stroke.
Later the doctor pulled me out and explained there were three areas of bleed and because of the extensive damage, location, and her age there was nothing to be done except make decisions for life support.
My parents had requested a living will and so I knew my only decision was to advocate her desire to not prolong life on machines.
We had good conversations in the next few days and abundant blessings and kindnesses of God; more then I could relate to you in the space I want to take for this today. She knew she was dying. She released me from any guilt that I hadn’t been there. Her last days were a gift from God as she told me she loved me and she was at peace.
She slipped into unconsciousness before they transported her to a nursing home. She had always feared going to one and by God’s grace she never had to experience it as she lay, for the next seven days, seemingly reaching for Jesus or resting comfortably with the most peaceful look on her face that you could ever imagine.
The staff cared for her so tenderly, keeping her skin moist with baby lotion.
I would sit by her bed and just read my Bible for a while between running kids to things and caring for our home and it was on December 1st that my eyes fell on this passage I had marked ten months before.
Death…swallowed up by LIFE.
As my mother was passing from this life, smelling like a newborn baby, I heard God whisper to my heart…
From your side, it looks like death is swallowing her life, but from My side…My LIFE is swallowing her death.
She was not dying, she was being born into her eternal life. All smelling like a newborn of all things.
I cannot sing “Oh death, where is your sting?” without thinking of her being born into her eternal life in front of my eyes.
We have had a hard year. We have listened to death tolls daily since March. We are aware that the fears we have are global. Our plans have died, businesses are dying, death seems to hang over us.
But so is God.
He is LIFE and no matter what takes us out of this world, for those who belong to Him, this was never a place we were meant to stay in forever.
Yes, these are serious times.
Perhaps it is time to take God seriously.
Blessings on you, sweet reader, who may have happened by today.
If you have lost someone and are grieving, I pray you can take comfort in knowing God’s eternal love is holding that one and will carry you through. I pray you to know the deep love of God through Jesus Christ that saved us.
We have, it would seem, much to be thankful for <3