Sweet Victory

By B.J. Funk –

How does one accept the news that a loved one is dying? There are no words to describe the raw emotion when hearing the doctor’s words pronouncing that there is no more hope. A war begins inside your head, a battle between true and false, a boxing match to determine which strength will win.

“It can’t be true,” you whisper to your head. “I won’t let this happen to her, to me, to our family. I won’t!”

Truth walks softly on your thoughts. “But, what if it is true?”  What will you do with this information? Will you sit on it, run from it? Do you dare touch it and embrace it?

Anger jumps in. “You should be furious about this! This is, after all, your loved one.” Anger advises you to throw the negative in a deep ocean, take a pill to relax, and sleep for as long as you can.

Hunger comes in with its plan. “Stuff yourself with all kinds of food, especially sweets. It’s the only way to escape the pain.”

Depression moves deeper into your soul. “Don’t talk about it. Retreat. Swallow the pain. Bury it. Pretend it is not happening.”

Drama begs, “Just keep smiling. Laugh. Talk about everything else except this. Don’t let anyone bring it up. Ignore what you’ve heard.” You ponder all of the voices in your soul. Which one will hold your heart?

Finally, you know the answer:  All of them. All of them will move through and around your heart, running over reality, fearing truth, jumping from one mood to the other until finally, at some moment no one can predict, you begin to figure it all out.

What you figure out is that you will never figure it out. You just choose to hold onto life as the voices of truth and anger vie for your attention, as anger and depression try for first place, as drama makes it all seem so much worse.

You choose to live, and as the war rages – the battle for you – sweet victory will eventually emerge. An inner voice tells you that there is nothing you will go through that Jesus has not been through before you.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted  in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

You can do this. You don’t think you can. But, you can. The throne of Grace has just what you need. Go there often. Talk to Him. He understands better than anyone.

You can do this.

And when sweet victory is yours, you will go to that loved one who is dying and now, more than ever, you realize it is not about you. It’s about her. Your suffering is minimal to the suffering she is facing. Victory belongs to each of you, and it will be your joyful privilege to help her with life’s final blow. You will embrace death, not because you are smarter or wiser than anyone else. You aren’t. You are an emotional wreck, weary from months of staying up too late, waking in the night to check on her, and carrying the full responsibility of those tasks that were hers. But, somewhere deep inside your soul, you will hear the voice of the One who delights to carry your burden.

“Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Rest calls to you. Cherish rest. Embrace it.  Jesus gives these words as a personal gift to you. Take them. Believe in the deep down peace that rest can bring.You can do this. You really can.

And when death claims that one you love so much, your personal Good Friday will be victoriously squelched by your personal Resurrection Sunday. Your loved one lives on! You are called to do the same. Easter’s beautiful truth now becomes your personal truth. Hallelujah to the risen Lord!

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