For months a friend of mine joyfully stood in faith on the promise in Ps 118:17: “I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD.” She claimed that promise as she learned that she had cancer, as she grew weaker and weaker, and as the pain set in. But a couple weeks ago, Trudy fell asleep in Jesus. Did God let her down? Did He break His promise?
When Trudy first suspected something was wrong, she stood on the belief that God was in charge of her life, and that nothing would happen to her that would catch Him unaware. She did all the right things: she made sure she was right with God, she ate organic foods, she exercised, memorized Scripture, kept a positive attitude, trusted God and praised Him for His goodness. She felt that God gave her the verse in Psalm 118:17 to assure her that she would be alright, that she would “not die, but live.” So she rested in that promise, knowing all was well.
But she died.
However, before she died, she experienced miracles of spiritual and emotional healing. I’d like to share four of them.
Trudy and her husband had lived their lives as broken people. Trudy’s special issue was controlling others, alienating her only son. Consequently, he lived several hours away and had not been in touch with his parents for quite awhile. He didn’t know Trudy’s diagnosis.
After Trudy was placed on hospice, a friend was assigned as her hospice chaplain. Scott spent hours talking with Trudy and her husband. One night Scott was awakened, burdened for this situation. So he got up and spent the next couple hours praying for Enoch and the restoration of the broken relationship.
Enoch was open to God’s voice, and the very next morning Trudy received a phone call – from Enoch! They reconciled by phone, and after that Enoch made arrangements to come and be with his parents for Trudy’s last weeks.
During those last weeks Enoch knew that he had a different mother. No longer controlling, Trudy was finally able to have a real relationship with her son!
Trudy’s father had always been controlling and abusive to his family. Part of her emotional healing had been to forgive her father. But a few weeks before her death, God did another miracle – Trudy’s elderly father called to ask forgiveness! They talked heart to heart, and for the first time, father and daughter enjoyed a real relationship!
As Trudy’s body wasted away, and she passed through the end-stages, she and her husband wrestled with the promise God had given her that she would live and not die. Right down to the end, through the pain, she desired life and expected that God would raise her up. Even in her final coma her husband prayed over her, asking God to raise her up. But that didn’t happen.
What did happen was that while they prayed for physical healing in this life, God did a work of spiritual healing in their hearts. Instead of becoming bitter or angry, they clung all the closer to Him, and leaned their whole weight on Him. The three of them submitted their wills to God, acknowledging that only He knows what is best for their future and the most loving thing for now, and that only He knows the right time to fulfill His promise. When Trudy finally died, all three of them were at peace.
Trudy’s last battle was to trust God with her precious family. She had always been there to take care of them, and toward the end she realized she wouldn’t be there anymore. One of her last acts was to submit her family to God, and one of her last spoken communications was to let them know that she had done this.
So did God break His promise?
Neither Trudy, nor her husband and son believe that God broke His promise. They asked for her to be raised in this life and God said, “No.” He let her go to sleep, as He did Lazarus (John 11:11-13). But God will keep His promise. Trudy will yet live. She will not die the final death in the lake of fire. God’s promise is sure.
Trudy already has eternal life and God has marked her resting place. When Jesus comes again and resurrects the dead, she will be reunited with her family and will see God face to face. So what difference does a few years make when there is all eternity?
Her family grieves, to be sure. But they “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thess 4:1). They know they have not lost her, that this separation is temporary, that they will be with her for eternity. And they look forward to Resurrection Morning with joy in their heart, in the full knowledge that God will then keep His promise.
Please respond by sharing some of the promises you’ve clung to, and learned to trust God with.