Of Loss… and hope

J’s cousin lost his wife M yesterday. She was young, and it was sudden. The doctors still don’t know exactly what caused it. The details I got were sketchy – her husband took her to the hospital for one problem, and while she was there she had a series of heart attacks. J said maybe 6 or more of them, maybe related to an infection; it’s all confused.

J is down in Texas with the family now. I ask him if I can do anything, and he says no, he’s there and he can’t even do anything. And then he says, ‘Talk to that Guy you know.” Which is as close as J gets to mentioning God. And he won’t talk to Him himself, but he knows I will, that I have been since I learned about the situation.

It’s hard to fathom the grief her husband would be feeling. I had only met her a couple of times, and it has been some years since then. I just have this impression of a very pretty young woman. I try to remember if in the intervening years they had children. I want to say yes, and if so, they’d still be small.

It’s terrible for the family in that she was young, and it was so unexpected.

It’s terrible for J and his parents on another level as well, because it feels like they’re reliving the loss of J’s sister, G, who died of brain cancer in her thirties some years ago.

And of course it’s so much more terrible if she left this earth without an eternal hope. Of course, I can’t know one way or another about that. One never knows the status of another person’s spiritual life… not even the people we know well, and even less so a stranger at a distance.

Only God sees the heart.

—–

When G died – in the days before G died – I prayed for her of course. I prayed for her, and for her family. I prayed for her body, and I prayed for her spirit. And knowing that in Cuba communism has blocked expressions of faith and locked so many in darkness, knowing the darkness in which J himself lives, I prayed that someone would come to his sister… perhaps a believer in the person of a priest, a nurse, the family of a fellow patient… to share with her the Truth.

Sometime in the day before she passed, J called me to let me know she had slipped into a coma. They did not expect her to wake up. At first I prayed for her physical healing, of course. One hopes against hope, knowing that all things are possible with God. And I prayed that she would wake up, even for a little while, to let there be another chance for someone there to share the gospel with her.

And then the Spirit gave me another prayer to pray, and tears poured down my face as I prayed it. There in that coma, she was beyond the reach of human words, human arguments. But she was not beyond the reach of Christ. If she were to experience Jesus there — in that quiet darkness, with all the worries of life and the pain of her illness suddenly more distant and detached — then she would see and understand from Himwho He is far better than any of us could ever explain about Him. Surely if He would reveal himself to her, from His Spirit directly to hers, if she could see His love and His gentleness, and all His goodness and light and glory, without the fumbling of imperfect human language and imperfect human character to cloud the issue, then she would see the Truth. And still she might not choose Him – only God may know the hearts of men – but it would not be because she did not know the choice.

But please, God, may she see Him and know Him, and choose to follow Him, even there in that darkness.

I don’t know what choice she made when she met with Jesus that day, but I have absolute certainty that the prayer He gave me that day was the prayer He intended to answer. He met her there.

I only wish she could have woken up and let her family know.

The next day, when J got the update from Cuba that his sister had passed away and let me know, there was a moment when I realized that she had passed away right around the time I had been praying that prayer for her.

I remember that there was this one terrible moment when I worried that maybe I hadn’t prayed that right prayer for her in time. How quick I am to try to make it about me, my actions, my failures. And yet, just when I would have despaired, He reminded me:

Lazarus had been in the grave for days, but he still knew and responded to the Savior’s voice.

And that reminded me that Christ is master over even death, and mere physical death will not separate us from Him. And also that God’s timing is perfect: if He gave me the prayer, He would not have given it to me too late to help her. In fact, of course He already had His plan for her in place. He gave me the prayer simply so that I would know what He was going to do, and be able to share that comfort as I was able.

I’ve tried, with limited success. Maybe in time, J will be ready to hear it.

In the mean time, as I prayed for M these last few days, I have prayed for mercy. I prayed for her physical healing, knowing that if granted her physical recovery would be an undeniably miraculous, light-in-the-darkness, all-glory-to-God healing. (Be glorified!) I prayed for her doctor’s wisdom. I prayed for her family’s strength and comfort. I prayed that if it was not His will to heal her body, that He would heal her spirit, as I know that He did for G. I prayed, finally, that God would be glorified in whatever outcome He knew would truly be good and right and best.

M has left us. I pray she has gone home to the joyful presence of the Lord Jesus.

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About aka gringita
Flotsam generator. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Christ follower.

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