Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Steadfast under trial
This is my very special friend Gayle. Gayle is the mother of a good friend of mine, I also work for her 2 evenings a week. But, I must say working for Gayle has gone far beyond just business, she has become a dear friend and a gift from God.
You see, Gayle has MS (multiple sclerosis) a debilitating disease, that has resulted in her being bed ridden and unable to care for herself. She must rely on others to do all the things that we can do so easily, the things we often do even without thinking. Beyond Gayles physical suffering she has also endured an even more painful form of suffering recently, and that was the sudden loss of her husband. Her husband took such good care of her, stuck by her side through all the years and all the trials-- He in many ways was a source of strength and encouragement for her. So if you can only imagine how hard it was to lose him. But something neat that Gayle and I like to talk about is heaven. We like to talk about the day she will get to see Randy again, and the day she will also get to meet her Savior face to face. We talk about the day Jesus returns and we are all given our new bodies, it's so hard to fathom how spectacular that day will be. Gayle and I have come to a conclusion, that our suffering makes us ready to go to heaven. Joni Ereckson Tada, who is paralyzed from the neck down, says in her book A Step Further:
"One day when Jesus comes back, God is going to throw open heaven's shutters. And there's not a doubt in my mind that I'll be fantastically more excited and ready for it than if I were on my feet. You see, suffering gets us ready for heaven. How does it get us ready? It makes us want to go there. Broken necks, broken arms, broken homes, broken hearts- these things crush our illusions that earth can "keep its promises". When we come to know that the hopes we cherished will never come true, that our dead loved one is gone from this life forever, that we will never be as pretty, popular, successfully, or famous as we had once imagined, it lifts our sights. It moves our eyes from this world, which God knows could never satisfy us anyway, and sets them on the life to come. Heaven becomes our passion."
So needless to say for someone like Gayle, who has endured such great suffering, heaven has become her passion. And I have the kind blessing of sharing in that passion with her. It is truly a gift to care for Gayle and learn from her. And something precious to think about when we are suffering is God's promise to us:
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." - James 1:12
This makes me excited to meet Gayle in heaven one day, and see the amazingly beautiful crown that will be on her head.