The past five months have been very difficult for my mother. Her battle against cancer intensified this past October, and she has been feeling physically beat up, has been in and out of the hospital, and has had every tube known to man connected to her body to nourish her. And last week, she began hospice care.
Needless to say, this has been a difficult time for my family. We, as believers, take great comfort in knowing that she is a believer and that we will see her in heaven, but the sorrow remains. Jesus wept for his dead friend Lazarus moments before He raised him again. Why should it be different for us as we await the future resurrection?
In times of grief, some turn away from God and lay the blame on Him for their troubles. This is exactly what I want to avoid. I am praying for God to use this time to irrigate my heart with the nourishing waters of His transforming truth so that I may know Him better and be more faithful and fruitful for Christ.
In addition to praying for the Lord’s help and strength, here are five things I am praying for myself and my family:
I pray that we would treasure Christ and what He has done more. Death was not part of God’s design: sin brought it in the world. In Christ, death has been defeated, even though we still live with the consequences of it. Our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life with Him even now (John 17:3). As we mourn the coming loss of my mother, I hope that our eyes are fixed on the One who overcame death. I hope this world’s pull on our hearts would weaken as we await our heavenly home.
I pray that we would think with a more eternal perspective. There’s not a lot from 2016 (or the rest of my life) that will make a huge difference to me 10,000 years from now. If anything, I will wish I loved God and others more, wasted less time on meaningless things, and was more faithful in serving Christ. Instead of being caught up so much in the news of the day (especially the election!) I want more than ever to do things Christ promises to reward.
I pray that our love for God’s Word would deepen. 1 Peter 1:24-25 says, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” We weep now because my mother is withering away like grass—but we have been born again through the living and enduring Word of God (1 Peter 1:23), and that Word will last forever and continue to be our source of life. Lord, help us cling tightly to your life-giving and eternal Word.
I pray that God would use this situation to bring others into the Kingdom. Throughout my mom’s cancer journey, she has been upfront with everyone about how Christ has helped and sustained her throughout this process. Countless people have commented that her CaringBridge page (here are a few lessons she learned) or their conversations with her have inspired them in their faith. She has also given out many evangelistic books/booklets to doctors, nurses, and others with cancer. I’m hoping God will use her testimony and her funeral service to build His body by bringing many into the Kingdom.“A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.” ― Charles Spurgeon
I pray that we would grow in thankfulness. Every good memory with my mom is a gift from God, and the pain we feel is only due to the great love that we shared. I hope our profound pain drives us to give thanks to God for all of the good times.
Please join us in prayer, and also consider praying in a similar way when you suffer.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
Here’s one of my favorite pictures of my mom and I from my wedding. The picture itself is a sign of God’s grace on our lives; we didn’t know if she would live to see it.