John 14:3 (New International Version)
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
I found another name on the page of today's Daily Light--and remembered Debra.
Today would have been her birthday, but on the day several years ago, that I shared the reading with her, I had taken my Daily Light with me to the palliative care unit of the hospital where I had gone to visit her.
She was dying of cancer, but fighting every step, every breath of the way--for life.
A young mother of four and a pastor's wife, this wasn't supposed to be happening.
I opened the Daily Light to read the verses for her birthday, because often I've found something significant to the person on "their special day." It's as if God put it there, especially for them--a special gift, as if to say, "I know you--I love you."
But as I began to read the verses, which I hadn't read ahead of time, tears flowed down her cheeks--tears of sorrow. The verses weren't verses of overcoming or of healing, but all told of another place than earth. They also spoke of the fruitfulness of a life and they ended with Isaiah 55:8, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.
I tried to encourage her--to get back to where we were before I read the Daily Light, but I wish now that we had had a different conversation.
It's natural that none of us wants to die--God built the desire for life into us. But that day, I believe she needed a friend to help her accept a different reality and that I was the one God sent.
I backed away and moved to a safer, easier place. The weight of responsibility felt too great. I didn't want to be the reason she gave up hope.
Maybe the verses helped prepare her in spite of God's clumsy delivery person. I wish I hadn't run from her tears.
I remember her today on her birthday--a gentle, beautiful woman, of courage, strength and faith.
Hebrews 13:14 (New International Version)
14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.