She is the kind of person whose face lights up when she sees you. Joyful and vibrant. An encourager. Kind and cheerful. Experienced in life but young at heart.
I am always lifted up when I see her.
Her testimony is full of power and grace–how God called her from a dark place into His marvelous light. It’s a reminder of how God works, pulling and moving in a heart, calling and rescuing, healing and restoring.
Her story is filled with Jesus.
And now He is calling her home.
Terminal cancer. At such a stage where treatment will only bring suffering. So she has chosen to live out her days without fighting. With a surrendering heart and a cherishing of moments. With a gratefulness for even numbered breaths–each one a gift.
And a learning about the fullness of God in the tightest of places.
I’ve cried and if I’m honest, squirmed a little under God’s providence. My heart feels sore and weary of hard news.
I have no ability to explain the whys of suffering.
But I do know that eventually we all fall down. There is an end to this transient, vaporous life for every one of us.
Even Lazarus faced death a second time without rescue.
And I think of Marissa. Some would say gone too soon. Some would question the fairness of God.
But what would she speak to our sorrowing, our suffering? What truth would she speak into our fear?
I imagine that she wonders (marvels even!) at our dread of death and our hesitancy to leave this earth. I imagine that I can hear her, along with a crowd of witnesses gone before:
“Rest. You will not find rest in your talent or your story or your work. Rest is found in the finished work of your Savior. Rest in His promises and His person. He is able to keep you and perfect you and carry you. He cannot fail you and He will not let you go.
Rejoice. God has directed each step to this very place. There are no second causes, and God’s grace covers every regret. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. This is your appointed wilderness and your path to the promised land. Your name is written on His hand, and He will make your path straight.
Surrender. Let go of sadness and disappointment. Confusion and uncertainty. Cast every care on Him who long ago gave His life to relieve you of every burden. Let go of earthly riches and comforts. Relinquish longing and desire and goals. Open your hands and release it all. He is the way and the why. He wants to be your treasure, your portion, your friend.
Trust. Take up your shield of faith but always remember–it is His shield of faithfulness that surrounds you. When there is no light at all, trust in the Father of light. He shines brighter as the surrounding landscape fades.
Take courage–this part of your journey will soon be over. Your sovereign Lord holds your life and your hand and your breaths. There are deep places yet to cross, but He is with you. He will not forsake you! He loves you with an everlasting, loyal love. You are God’s workmanship, His poem, and you are living out the lines written long ago. Every hard place in your story is a means to glorify Him!
Come! Come to the place prepared for you, the place where you are fully known and loved. Come with gladness and joy and a heart filled with expectation. Come washed and clean in the blood of Christ. Come sit at the feet of your Savior and brother and King.
This paradise is filled with the glory of the Lamb! With safety and warmth and a depth of joy, all sorrow ended.
Don’t be afraid to turn the page. The story just gets more beautiful as you go on.”
But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” C. S. Lewis
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16