Monday, December 21, 2015
19For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Many of you are expecting a Christmas message this week. But for me there was a real struggle to get into the "Spirit" of Christmas until recently. Approximately a week before Thanksgiving, I was informed that one my cousins, one for whom some of you have prayed, was in the hospital battling breast cancer for the second time. When I arrived at the hospital I came in as her son came in. The nurse said I arrived before her release. This statement proved to be pivotal. I was informed that as my cousin whom I had enjoyed a few Redskins games with, prayed with and for, was ready to be transported to back to our home town. I was helping her son pack her things. She recognized me when I arrived. As I sat and waited with him. I realized through the Holy Spirit that part of my assignment was to prepare him. I learned that she had really suffered a set back in the middle of battling breast cancer. Stress had brought about another ailment and she became partially paralyzed on one side. It was one which helped her make up her mind and be at peace that maybe it was time. Where I from, when people who are sick say they want to go back to our home town, it means they are ready and prepared to die. As I saw her face, I saw the change. She did not like the same. But when her son explained the hospital was looking for a med transport to take her back to our home state, I saw her tears and discomfort. She thought they weren't coming. As I wiped her tears, I knew she was ready to die. My cousin stated the doctors were giving her until Thanksgiving but he hoped she would surpass. I explained that we must all be prepared for whatever God's will is. I had prayed for my cousin's healing for months but in seeing her suffering and her desire for it to end, I became at ease with God's will. As the med transport arrived, I kissed her on her forehead and told her I love her. She echoed the same. I cried in the car in the hospital parking lot, because I knew by the Holy Spirit, this was the last time.
My cousin passed over to the other side on Thanksgiving night less than a week later. The pain of losing a parent never goes away as my late Step-Dad's birthday is the week before Christmas and an emotional. It only gets a little better with time. But on the day of her home going service, I couldn't cry the same. I stood at the coffin with two other cousins, one a minister, and I said, many think she lost this battle but she won. The cousins stood in agreement. As the preacher began the service, he spoke of the scripture often used in 1Corinthians 15. That day, I really understood the meaning of Philippians 1:19-21. The verse 21 had been discussed at church just a couple of Sundays prior but it finally hit home. My late Dad's suffering was quick just as his death. My cousin desired an end to the pain and long-suffering. We thought it was to come through remission of the disease just as it happened before three years ago. But God had another plan. The ceasing of the pain came through the end of life here and the beginning of her eternal life with the Lord. Was the battle really lost? If you know Jesus Christ, absolutely not!!!