“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 6:23
About three years ago, I was living in Israel with my husband and our one-year-old daughter. During a Skype session with my mom, a regular virtual date I absolutely loved having with her, my mom placed me on hold because she had received an incoming call from her doctor regarding her recent visit.
“Ramona,” he slowly said. “Your tests came back, and I’m sorry to tell you, but you have stage four gastric cancer. You have about six months to live,” her doctor concluded while I remained breathless, listening to the entire call from my tablet, thousands of miles from home.
That word stung my heart deeper than a thousand wasps. My mom, my very best friend, was facing a terminal illness, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I grappled with this nightmare news, and as the days passed, I struggled with my mom’s rapid decline. Her condition worsened a few months later, around Easter, and during this time, I experienced an unexpected new feeling, an emotion I had yet to feel since her doctor’s phone call that fateful day. Suddenly, I felt a sense of peace. News of my mom’s health brought feelings of anger, confusion, frustration and deep sadness, but never peace, yet suddenly, I realized life is not about me. I realized life is not about my fleshly feelings or my attempts to get a hold on this situation or any other situation that is completely out of my control. As my mom struggled to live, yet found the strength to laugh, smile, joke and reminisce, I realized the magnitude of the gift of life, a gift I was taking for granted as I let my sadness and fury overtake any opportunity to feel joy and gratitude.
“Life is a gift from God through Jesus, and because He rises, I am free to give Him the weight of my pain and the stress and anger of my disappointments,” I journaled, excited to share these newfound feelings with my mom.
I joined my mom in her hospital room and shared my new feelings of peace. She looked at me with joyful eyes and said, “Never take the gift of life for granted.”
My mom passed away in August 2015, and when she left this Earth, I felt several different emotions–gratitude that she joined our Lord and Savior, no longer in pain, yet overwhelming heartache, consumed with a pain I never knew. My mom’s passing also made me realize something else–she is part of His Resurrection. Jesus’ rising gave proof to life beyond the grave. When you trust in Him, death is no longer the end of the road. Instead, death becomes the beginning of eternal life. One day, we will come to the end of our road, and although that will be the day our bodies are no longer on Earth, that will be the first day to the rest of our eternal lives.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” —John 11:25-26
Thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity to reach Heaven.
Thank you, Jesus, for hope of eternal life.
Thank you, Jesus, for my mom, a woman who raised me to know You and love You.