Ending Is Beginning

December 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm (Family, Friends & Ministry, Godly Living, Vignettes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Yesterday, my Mom and I crept in late to the funeral of a woman we had never met. Actually, she was the mother-in-law of a friend, and we had come to show support to the family. In front of us a lady folded a handkerchief around her finger and dabbed at her eyes.

Several months ago, Marlene’s Doctor had told her she had the silent killer: cancer. He gave her only a few months to live, without treatment. “It’s okay,” she said. “It’s right.” Without a complaint, she accepted from the Lord that He was calling her home and refused any treatment. She was ready to go. “Herman the Vermin,” she named her enemy—cancer—and she looked to Jesus for certain release. On Christmas Day, at her son’s home, Marlene shed her earthly body and went to be with Jesus.

I looked at this woman’s beautiful paintings and wood-burnings, listened to the stories others shared, watched the slideshow of her life and listened to the notes she had written in her Bible. A hunger, a thirst for the Lord. A longing to be with Him. Even as an older widow, the preacher recounted how she had enthusiastically wanted to be part of an evangelistic team. In a letter she’d left in her Bible, she had expressed that she didn’t know how much longer she had, but she wanted to serve—the Lord and others.

As I listened, I struggled to understand. Why did the Lord allow this woman who loved Him to linger so long between this world and that better one? Why the dark cloud of certain doom? Why the struggle for her family as they watched her fading away? Perhaps, her attitude in suffering brought the glory back to the Lord. As the glory departed from her earthly temple, the glory of God shone more brightly to those left behind. Everyone I mentioned her name to had one thing to say: “Miss Marlene was a godly woman.”

Miss Marlene spent her life learning that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

How fitting. As one year draws to a close, we find we are beginning another. As Miss Marlene’s life ended, we are reminded that it is not an end—but a beginning. In life, with Christ, ending is always a beginning. Life with Christ begins with an end—an end of living for self and sin, of being enslaved to that which would destroy us. The end of every day brings us to the beginning of another—with new mercies and new grace. And when we come to the end of life, we discover that we are only beginning—to live. The end of the world marks the beginning of Christ’s eternal reign. Every fairy-tale finishes with the words “The End” but in God’s eternal story, “The End” marks the beginning.

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4 Comments

  1. LauraComfort said,

    Wow. That is really inspiring and amazing. 🙂 I have a younger brother who has a rare illness that is slowly killing him (it’s not cancer, though) and he won’t live too much longer. But, just like this lady, my brother and my family try to live life to the fullest, even though he is only 3. 🙂
    Thank you for having this blog, Abigail and Lauren! You two encourage me.

    ~Laura

  2. LauraComfort said,

    Oh, by the way, would it be alright if I posted this on my blogspot blog? I would obviously give y’all credit. 🙂

    ~Laura
    http://theshieldmaiden.blogspot.com/

  3. Maiden Princess said,

    Very good thoughts! That is what I want people to see about me when I am called home. I want to leave a legacy that gives all the glory to the LORD. Very inspiring story 😀 Thank you for that!

    Striving To Walk In His Steps,
    Maiden Princess

  4. Pearls and Diamonds said,

    Laura, absolutely, you may repost this. And if you’ve shared your brother’s story online, we’d love for you to link it here, as well! I, at least, would like to read your thoughts on such a difficult struggle! “Though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is renewed!” May the Lord be with your family and your brother!

    Blessings,

    Abigail @ Pearls and Diamonds

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