You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
– Acts 3:15
The call came one evening, while we were at work.
We rushed to the nursing home and found her in her room. Her eyes were open but fixed on some spot beyond us. Her brow was furrowed in an anxious frown. The skin on her legs was mottled. That told me her organs were shutting down.
The nurse said her heartbeat was still strong. With my mother, it could be no other way.
She loved life, and she fought hard for it to the end, through a series of strokes that took a devastating toll on her body. She battled for five long years against increasing disability and pain.
Now, through the night, her body began its journey home, ravaged beyond man’s ability to bring her back. Someone brought us chairs and stale coffee for the vigil. We softly sang her favorite hymns around her bed. We read her favorite Bible verses to her, the ones she loved over the years. We held her hand, stroked her clammy forehead, prayed together, and told her she would soon see the face of the Lord she loved so much.
It was mid-morning when her breathing became erratic. Not in a frantic way, but gently, reluctantly, the sighs of someone who needs to leave but doesn’t want to say goodbye. Then, as we huddled around her in a gray room under a gray May sky, she left us.
We grieved our loss. We rejoiced she had been united with the Author of Life.
It was the day I saw firsthand that life doesn’t end. It returns to the God who gave it.
God isn’t a distant benefactor caring for us on our trip through this realm. He created the processes that maintain life. He gives us every breath. It is His infinite knowledge and imagination that crafted the world we live in.
He wrote the book on life.
On that awful day outside Jerusalem when Jesus allowed His creation to kill Him, He was writing a new chapter for us. His death ushered in an alternate ending for every person who has walked this earth. We don’t have to live in hopelessness. We are not defeated, after all, if we choose life.
Because of His sacrifice and resurrection, that night in the nursing home wasn’t the end for my beloved mom. It was a change of address, a move into the presence of the one who made her, loved her, and promised those who love Him will never die.
Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’
– John 11:25-26