This week I received a text I had been waiting on. The timing didn’t surprise me, but the content made me pause.
A friend and former co-worker was losing her husband to cancer. The sentence that struck me was this:
“Please pray that he will die NOW.”
And I thought…where are you when the answer to your prayer is that someone you love would die?
Where are you spiritually, emotionally?
Cancer fights hard and dirty; it takes a physical toll. The emotional road is long and arduous, too, and for more than just the patient. I haven’t walked that road. I’ve watched from a distance on several occasions.
But what struck me in all of this was the faith necessary to pray for death. Yes, there is a point where someone’s suffering has gone on long enough, and so there is a merciful component to this. But there must also be something else: a belief, or better yet, a confidence that something better is at hand.
My friend’s hope and confidence was rooted in the reality that her husband and best friend, her life-long companion, was about to meet Jesus Christ. The forward to the novel of his life was coming to an end, and he was about to begin the rest of this epic story called eternal life. He was about to become fully alive.
Yes, God raises dead people to life.
There’s the story of Lazarus in John 11. There’s the resurrection of Jesus in John 20-21.
But my friend’s husband wasn’t getting back out of that bed. His body was done; his groaning was over.
The Apostle Paul said our bodies are like leaky tents (2 Corinthians 5). And while we’re in these tents we groan, waiting to be with the Lord Jesus.
This was right after he said this:
We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. 2 Corinthians 4:16-8
My friend’s husband already had one death to life experience years ago. It happened when he first put his trust in Jesus. I’ve been reading about it in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians:
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14
This is the beautiful reality for those of us who have placed our trust in Jesus Christ. We have new life. Life that is not constrained by our leaky tent bodies! Life we begin to experience NOW.
Life that gives us comfort when days and weeks are hard.
Life that gives us courage when the world around us promotes fear.
Life that gives us joy and laughter, purpose and meaning that all rise above our circumstances.
Life that gives us confidence, even through tears, to say, pray that he would die now…
So he can truly live.
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