This past Friday, I went and visited my childhood nanny in the hospital. “Lee Lee,” as my siblings and I called her, was like another mother to us. She fed us, taught us, and disciplined us far more than she should have needed to, but never more than she should have. Over the past few weeks, her health had declined as she had suffered multiple strokes and was in the ICU with continuing problems.
When I went to see her that Friday, the outcome seemed to be worsening by the day. She was alone when I arrived, so I asked to pray with her and then I read her some of the gospel. She struggled to breathe, much less speak, but as I finished reading she strained with all the might she had to tell me in hardly discernible speech, “I want to get better.” I reassured her the doctors and nurses were doing everything they could to figure out how to make her better and I promised we would all continue to pray for her. Two days later, she passed away.
Lee Lee was a faithful woman. I specifically remember whenever there were hard times, my mother and father would mention asking Lee Lee and her church for prayers, which often seemed to be so powerful. And so, it would be tempting to wonder why this faithful woman who wanted so desperately to improve and continue her life on this earth would not be granted her wish. Our immediate, limited view could even deem this as a sort of injustice, but in times like these, we must remember that our Earthly lives are a mere lark, a blink of the eye of eternity, on our way to our eternal home. And, we must trust our loving, Heavenly Father to watch over us and take care of us. In His infinite wisdom, we must trust His timing of when our Earthly lives come to an end.
As Paul wrote in Romans 8:24-28, “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
While this writing is packed and deserving of interpretation far greater than mine, in simple terms, I would write that as we grieve the earthly loss of Lee Lee, we must remember that we still hope for Lee Lee to “get better,” just in a different way than before. We hope that in God’s infinite mercy, love, and forgiveness that He has wiped away every tear (Revelation 21:4) and that He has welcomed her into His Kingdom. At the same time, we also hope He sends His Spirit to strengthen us in our time of sorrow. We must remember that no injustice exists within God, and even if we cannot reconcile something that has happened, God is good and He wants only what is best for us.
I think Paul summarizes it well in Romans 8:18-19, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.”
Especially in the face of loss, we must keep our eyes on the glory that awaits us after this life. We hope that our lost loved ones are experiencing the joy beyond comparison to anything in this world, and we pray that we may one day join them.