Friday, May 19, 2017
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1.
Yesterday, the heavenly ‘cloud of witnesses’ gained another member. My friend who courageously and faithfully fought cancer for over a year stepped from the grassy knolls of earth to the beautiful streets of gold. The race that was put before her was no doubt the most grueling one of her life. She was a childhood friend of mine and we only reconnected 8 short weeks ago, but Divinity doesn’t consider the calendar the way we do. We talked back and forth many days and the middle school girl of grace and joy was the same middle aged woman who never changed. Her life of faith was one that testified not only from her mouth but also from her actions. One of the last times we communicated was just a week ago, when she was excited to consider that she would be able to start round 26 of chemo. Imagine being hopeful for that, but that was who she was. Forever thankful…forever hopeful…forever believing. Every time she ended her messages it was ‘I am hopeful and thankful for God in this journey, I have given it to Him.’
I will forever think of this beautiful witness when I am feeling overwhelmed. Her beautiful testimony will be in my arsenal when I need to draw a weapon against this world. I know that God placed her back in my life to show me an example of grace, endurance, love and gratitude. She knew Christ alright, along with His sufferings. No matter what, she pressed on believing God for what He claims. The thought of her finishing her race after participating in all that suffering makes me hopeful and thankful. It reminds me that some day after this journey is over I too can take hold of Christ since He took hold of me through the cross. I can be confident that no matter how painful life is, I’m just passing through. I am not a resident of this world but a guaranteed landowner of Heaven. I will miss her but I will see her again when my race is complete.
“I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…But our citizenship is in heaven.” Philippians 3:10, 12b, 20.