When I was asked if I would like to write a devotional, I thought, “What do I have to say that is profound, or even interesting?” I read back through a few of the earlier ones and when I saw Gladys Runnels’ story about the ladybug and her mother, it made me think of my mother and something that happened just before she died that helped to renew my faith, which was lagging at the time.
First, a little background: My mother had a firm belief in God but didn’t talk much about it. My mom and grandmother prayed together but that was about it. My mother was a nurse at the VA Hospital in Dallas. She worked most Sundays, and so I started going to church at age seven, with a friend.
About three years after I married, my mother found out she had cancer. It had spread from the colon to her liver and stomach. It was terminal. After all the chemo and radiation failed, it was determined she had about three months to live. She went into hospice at my house. I quit work to take care of her.
Now for the profound part, at least to me: I had stopped going to church, and was doubting my faith to some extent. How could God allow this beautiful woman to suffer so much that she asked nearly every day to die? How could he take her before she had grandchildren to love? I had so many questions and so few answers. She was a good and faithful servant and should not have been in so much pain! Couldn’t God see that, and help her?
She never wanted to be alone. She did not want to die alone. I would stay with her all day, and we talked a lot.
One day she fell asleep so I left the room to make us a quick lunch. When I returned, she was awake. I was surprised to see this because she had not called out for me to see where I was. She was very calm and smiling.
Then, she told me something that really astonished me. She said she had been talking to her brother, Jeff, and with him were her mother and father. All had died years before. She said they had a great talk and they told her that her room in heaven was almost ready for her and to not be afraid. They told her she would not suffer any longer. She said she was so glad to see them and she was ready and at peace. I had heard about this — seeing loved ones before you die, rooms in heaven, and so on — but we had never discussed it.
For some reason, this put me on the path to restoring my faith. It gave me peace that she was happy and would soon be with God; no more pain and suffering. And, when she died she had a slight smile on her face.
It has been 41 years since my mother died, but I have never forgotten that affirmation that God is there for us always to the end. He walks with us throughout our lives and gives us peace when we need it most.
In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? I will come again and I will take you to myself that where I am you will be also. — John 14:2-3
Offered by Nancy Chapaneri
Our devotionals are going out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with an occasional lagniappe issue. Please look for these congregation devotionals in your email box at about 6:45 a.m.