I saw an old friend this weekend – someone I hadn’t seen in five years. It was nice catching up on family and mutual friends. The conversation turned, though, when I asked about Mary. Mary was a close friend and neighbor of my friend who I had first met at our last meeting five years ago. Mary had been diagnosed with cancer three years ago and been treated successfully. But now her cancer was back.
Upon learning of the return of her cancer Mary once again embarked on the vigorous rounds of chemotherapy, but this time things were not successful. In fact, there was only one other treatment possibility left and her doctors were not eager for Mary to take it on. There was a high possibility that Mary’s brain would bleed out during the course of the treatment.
My heart ached as I heard how Mary had collapsed into tears as she heard the doctor’s prognosis. She and her husband just couldn’t accept that this was the end, and so they gathered all her records and went to another treatment center in another state. The atmosphere at the second hospital was very different than her home hospital. Hope was considered a critical part of treatment at this second hospital, but at the end of the evaluation, their news was the same as Mary’s original hospital.
Mary and her husband were in the process of making one long trip to see all their children before entering the last treatment phase – the treatment that doctors had little hope of working – the treatment that very likely would end her life.
Mary shared with my friend that she wasn’t fearful of death. She was a believer and knew that she would spend eternity with God. But her heart ached for her children. She worried so much about how her death would affect them, how they would move on with the rest of their life.
Hearing about Mary made me think of a conversation my husband and I had a long time ago. My children were very young at the time, and we had dutifully seen a lawyer about a will. I had shared with my husband how having everything in order with the will still didn’t relieve my anxiety about our children growing up without their mother. I couldn’t imagine being happy in heaven knowing my young sons didn’t have a mom.
My husband responded back with what I still consider one of his best personal sermons to me. He had such a surprised look on his face that I could entertain the idea of being worried or anxious in heaven.
“Hattie, you’d be with God the Father. You would have such a full understanding of God’s love and care for His children that you would have no room for worry about how God would be taking care of your family. All shadow of doubt would be gone. You’d know that God would be caring for them far better than you could.”
So tonight I’m thinking about Mary and hope that someone can help remind her that she doesn’t need to worry about her family. They have The Parent watching over them and loving them far beyond anything we can understand.
But I’m still sad for Mary and her family.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28