full moon, ashley locke

At last she slipped free. The hard-fought fight was finished. Thank God! Ethereal now, silvery with beauty, she sailed out of the black and into glory, welcomed into open arms.

It didn’t go as we had hoped. But we don’t get to choose how our loved ones die and what agonies they suffer in the process. We are not in control of death. The timing and the particulars are in God’s hands. It’s part of the refining.

As she made vicious war with cancer, what did we learn?

We witnessed her value and strength even more completely. We observed her mothering heart more fully. She held on for her boys. She was a tough cookie, a strong woman, a fighter. She always was. In suffering, she lived and breathed and loved as her true self.

We viewed ourselves more clearly. Often we think we’re so very strong. But, we all came to the end of ourselves. God stripped us bare and clean of all our presuppositions about our abilities. We are broken creatures. What would we do without the Savior? He held us up.

resurrected Christ

At the very end, when the long, long struggle had worn us all down to nubs and tears left daily tracks upon our cheeks, we saw Jesus pure and clean, standing there with outstretched arms.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

We yielded. We came.

All she experienced in dying, God’s Son did and more. He bore the wrath of God, so we don’t have to. Every grim particular of her passing, Christ also suffered. He did it out of love. We do it because Adam took that bite. For us, it is required. For Jesus, it was mercy.

We are blind. We have to be stripped to the bare naked bones of our strength to see him shining. When we’ve reached the end of ourselves the view of him is clear and exquisite.

stairway to heaven,creationswap

We will see her in heaven, and she will be radiant, wrapped in beauty purchased for her by God’s Son. This is the comfort we have when our believing loved ones pass on ahead of us. We grasp this promise, loving Christ even more deeply for swearing it.

“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11 NLT).

Top photo: Ashley Locke. Bottom photo: CreationSwap.