“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:5
As my wife, Grace, and I sat on either side of her passing mother, Connie, we felt strangely and happily awkward for having so much hope, as if we had a secret just between us. There was a moment Grace and I made eye contact and a wry smile crept across my wife’s lips. Were we supposed to feel this way? Was it wrong to feel so joyful in such a difficult situation?
We loved Connie dearly. This was a beautiful and hard-working Latina woman who grew up without the material comforts most enjoy in Southern California. She was as physically strong as she was personally shy.
But in the last two years, her cancer physically broke her. And through the deterioration of her body, the Lord answered our prayers and brought her to a living faith in the living Christ. She spent the last year and a half bringing her family members with her to church to hear the gospel until her body denied her mobility. And when the doctors gave the heartbreaking news that her cancer had spread and chemotherapy was no longer an option, she warmly said, “I guess I get to meet my Savior even sooner!”
We miss Connie. But we will not miss her forever.
Connie’s cancer was not wasted. She knew her frail, hollowed husk was not permanent and would one day be traded for a resurrection body—a body just like her Savior’s. She held hope to her heart like a warm drink on a cold day. She was convinced that her death was an end to her suffering sighs and struggle with sin. And through Jesus’ death her life was about to begin.
In her last few breaths, I had the honor of whispering this revealed mystery to her, reminding her of what, in only a moment, she would know far better than I.
We miss Connie. But we will not miss her forever. Praise to the one who puts death to death!