I lost a friend this week. She had been sick for the past year, suffering tremendous bouts of pain throughout the process of dying. The long battle with her health had been evident. You could see the tiredness in her face. Finally, as her husband held her in his arms she died…that fast…that quickly. It was over.
But that is not the end of the story. Something very special happened as my friend departed for her heavenly home. What was it? She smiled. Remember the tiredness I told you about that was visible in her face? It was gone and was replaced by a smile. Now what would make someone smile in the moments before death? Well something sure did. None of us smiles for no reason at all. Here’s why I think my friend smiled. It’s really very simple. She saw Jesus.
I’m reminded of a song written in 1941 by Ester Rushthoi. The song is titled, When We See Christ. Here are the words from the chorus of the song:
It will be worth it all
When we see Jesus!
Life’s trials will seem so small
When we see Christ.
One glimpse of His dear face,
All sorrows will erase.
So bravely run the race
Till we see Christ.
Whatever pain you are experiencing is only temporary. Remember to bravely run your race. Whatever earthly race you are in right now be brave and courageous. Run it with your focus on Christ.
Whatever we are facing right now we can take comfort in this statement from the song. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.
This week I was on my way home from work and was stopped at a red light. The car at the light in front of me was also stopped and blocking much of the entrance to a business I was trying to enter. I was trying to figure out if there was enough room between my car and the one in front of me so that I could squeeze into the parking lot.
As I was making those mental measurements, I was suddenly thrown forward and caught by my seatbelt. A quick glance in my mirror and I realized a truck had just smashed into the back of my car and was pushing me into the car in front of me. I heard metal bending, saw steam start to come from under my hood and felt the pain from being thrown forward at a high velocity.
The end of the story is that a driver coming up behind me hadn’t realized that everyone was stopped at a red light and had just slammed into my car pushing me into the car in front of me. In short order the police, fire, and ambulance were on the scene and the little area of the street was a flurry of activity. It was a hot day and I was standing on the sidewalk watching all the activity. A woman from one of the shops along the street came up to me and asked if she could get me a glass of cold water. All of a sudden my mind left the accident and focused on the kindness of this woman. She didn’t have to leave what she was doing and come check on me. She made the offer out of kindness.
Remember the verse in Matthew 10 that says this: And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.
You see, I’m certain Christ really knew the impact of giving to someone else…the power of simply kindness. When the woman at the accident asked me if I wanted some cold water, it really wasn’t about the water. It was about a woman showing an act of kindness to someone she didn’t even know. At that moment there were no racial differences, social status concerns, or philosophical differences. There was simply a woman who wanted to show she cared about me and extended an offer to help.
I’ll never know this woman’s name but she has made me look at Matthew Chapter 10 through totally different eyes. I hope that as you have opportunities, you, too, will offer a cup of water whenever you can.