“And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back all the Christians who have died.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14
This evening my husband and I went to the airport to pick up our two oldest sons. They were returning from a trip to our previous home. Our family moved in the midst of our sons’ high school career. Our oldest, a senior, wanted to go back for the graduation ceremony of his former classmates. The trip, for both boys, was a joyful homecoming celebration.
Their return was also a happy homecoming. Our family missed them. We were happy they had the opportunity to go, but it is comforting to have them back under our roof. We are thankful that their travels were safe and that the household dynamic has returned to “normal.” Homecomings are marked by smiles, hugs, and rejoicing.
My daughter’s teacher, a friend of mine, is preparing for another homecoming. She has been fighting aggressive cancer. She recently heard from her doctors that there is nothing more that the medical community can do for her.
I can only pray, that if I were in the same situation, I could face this news with as much courage and faith as this dear friend. When I last visited with her, she smiled, laughed and joked, joyfully welcomed visitors, and spoke of what she had to look forward to.
It would be so easy to act otherwise. Many people given similar news might retreat from loved ones, questioning, “why me?” Because she is loved by hundreds of people, it would be so easy to cling to this life and her many earthly relationships. It would be expected that she be overcome with sorrow. I’m not saying that she doesn’t battle fear and sadness, but she has not allowed these emotions to dictate her behavior. She has been an incredible witness, especially to all of her current and former students.
While we all would love for her to be physically healed, she is accepting that this may not be God’s will. She trusts that the “Great Physician” has provided her with a more significant spiritual healing that will someday grant her a homecoming celebration more joyful than we can humanly comprehend. Through Miss Nelson we see the beauty of the Christian life - that we need not grieve as those without hope! All who die in the faith will partake in a glorious homecoming!
Dear loving Father, we praise you for the healing and promise you have provided through Jesus. Please continue to uphold Miss Nelson, granting her strength of body and mind. Grant her, and all who love her, peace beyond all human comprehension.