“And a sword will pierce your own soul too” – Luke 2:35
I know it has been a while since I’ve written, but I’ve been in Mississippi the last ten days with my mom. She had been fighting emphysema for years and on Feb. 1, she lost the battle. She died peacefully with me in the room with her, and I’m grateful for the time I could spend with her at the end of her life.
I have to admit, though, that more than once during the week I stood by her side, praying that God would take her quickly and ease the pain of trying to breathe with only 18% of her lungs left. One of the worst possible experiences in life is to watch a loved one slowly die for lack of oxygen. Gasping for air is not a pretty sight, but that was what I had to watch. I prayed and pleaded with God that He would ease her pain and discomfort and take her home quickly. My love and compassion for my mom wanted a comfortable, easy passing, and I don’t regret those prayers. Still, while I stood by her bed and held her hand while she struggled to inhale, it occurred to me that however bad I had it, Mary, the mother of Jesus, had it worse.
I had the opportunity to ask the doctors to ease my mom’s pain with drugs, but Mary had to watch Jesus gasp for air by standing up on the nails in His feet. I knew the drugs would slowly put my mom into a comfortable state, while Mary knew that her Son would only gain comfort by breathing His last breath. I knew my mom’s parents didn’t bring her into this world intending for her to die a painful death, but Mary had an understanding that her Son came to do just that – die a bloody death so His life could be a ransom for many. I was alone with my mom when she passed away, but a mother and a Father watched as the agony of a Son comforted the agony of all mankind.
About the time I was feeling sorry for myself and my mom in a hospital room in rural Mississippi, God was comforting me by letting me know He was aware that death hurts. A friend of mine said to me, “Of all the bad things in creation, death is the worse.” That’s true. But I also serve a risen Savior, and I look forward to seeing my mom and dad again in that place where death has lost its sting.