I am thinking about my mother today.
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer over twelve years ago, and lived for ten years after that before she could no longer take chemotherapy. Two years ago, my brother and I took Mom to Florida to see her mom, which we all knew would be the last, as the health of both of these wonderful women was failing.
I’m thinking about Mom because two years ago today was the last time that I saw her. I had to drive back home to Minnesota, so I hugged her goodbye and walked out the door. I took one look behind me, and that was it. Had I known that that was the last time I would see her, I would have stayed longer and delayed my plans. Had I known that 36 hours after I would leave the house she would be unresponsive until her death 13 days later, I would have stayed a few extra days. I thought we had months, but I was wrong. I am thinking about seeing Mom sitting on the couch, and remembering that that was the last time I saw her.
It is hard to think about.
The only thing that makes it easier is the fact that I know that that was not the very last time I will see her, just the last time I saw her.
Mom had trusted Jesus as her personal Saviour at the age of 16 and Christ made a lasting impact on her life. I know that right now, as I write this, she is with Jesus now, waiting with Grandma for the rest of us to come Home. I know that I personally will see her again, not because everyone goes to heaven or because I am a good person, but because I am trusting that what Jesus did on the cross was for me and my sins. I accepted God’s gift of grace at the age of five, and was completely forgiven by God.
The fact that Mom knew Jesus Christ as Saviour and that I know Jesus Christ as my Saviour makes our reunion not a possibility, but a yet-unrealized reality. I did not come to Christ so that I could be with all my loved ones. I am trusting Jesus because He is beautiful and worthy of my adoration. I haven’t willed Heaven to be because it’s a nice idea and I don’t want to be sad. Too many people love heaven but not Jesus. Heaven is simply a wonderful bonus that should never take the place of the worthiness of Christ. It is real, and I am looking forward to it.
It is not trite to say that I will see Mom again. This hope is one of the reasons that 1 Thessalonians 4 was written. It says in part: “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [those Christians who have died], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven… and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
I am thinking about my mother today, and the next time I see her.