A former student of mine faces death in the next few days. Her battle with cancer is about to end…in victory.
As Valerie transitions from this life to the next, we grieve; not because we fear death, but because we anticipate a season apart.
For some, the process of death is fast and merciful. For others, it’s protracted and painful. The journey to the veil and through the veil can seem vastly different. But the Psalmist captured it accurately when he wrote, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. For You (O God) are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
The reality of the Lord’s Presence transforms death from an act of violence to a mere shadow. That which threatens to rob us of everything, turns out to have far less substance than we might have imagined. Death does not close a door but opens one, for people of faith.
We can only imagine the Eternal Light that lies beyond the fleeting shadow. And in a moment, with the drawing of a final breath, in the twinkling of an eye, that Light bursts forth. Resurrection happens. The body, always plagued by injury, sickness, and frailty is raised in an instant to glorious perfection.
Cancer strikes fear in many of us. We talk about “fighting it,” as we might wrestle a formidable enemy. But Christ conquered cancer at the Cross—not that He promises to regenerate mutant cells, but He assures us of something far richer and greater; eternity.
Our hearts feel heavy. Tears come to our eyes. Sadness seeps through us. We feel touched to the core.
But our hearts break because of love, not fear. In this moment, it’s love for a dear sister who shall wait beyond the bar for us. And love for the One who will receive her into His care, while we persist a while.
Valerie, you have fought the good fight. You have kept the faith. There is now for you an eternal weight of glory far greater than the momentary light afflictions of this life. Go before us with our blessing, and wait for us with joy.
In the words of C.S. Lewis, it’s never goodbye among believers, but “see you later.”