Loss, Grief and a Heavenly Promise
She was cancer-free. The doctors said so. By the time they figured out the cancer was back, it was too late. We had two, maybe three weeks left. My sweet aunt Alice went to be with Jesus last month.
Alice was fearless. Not an ignorant type of “devil-may-care” fearless. She knew her Bible backwards and forwards. She knew the Lord. And she just trusted in the Lord so much that she wasn’t afraid.
I remember the time she tried to comfort my sister and me when we were children. We were afraid of a thunderstorm that had rolled through. She told us not to be scared, that through the lightning and thunder we could see the power of God. My cousin, who was standing there quipped, “Yes, and if we’re struck we will feel the power of God!” We all laughed.
A Praying Woman
I’m going to miss her prayers. Alice was a “prayer warrior” for our family. Every time our family needed prayer, the first call was to Aunt Alice. And she prayed fiercely. Like she knew God would answer her prayers. She prayed for me when I took each of my qualifying tests and when I defended my dissertation proposal. She always ended with “and we give You all the glory and praise for what You are going to do.” Never a doubt.
No Reason to Doubt
She didn’t have a reason to doubt that God would answer her prayers. She’d seen Him answer them over and over. In 2016, I wrote about her involvement with Faith Comes by Hearing and their device that contained the Bible on audio in many different languages. The equipment is called a proclaimer. Alice raised money and gave some of her meager income to fund the proclaimers so that everyone could hear the Gospel. “They’re hungry to hear the Gospel in their own language,” she said. “Many are coming to the Lord because of it.”
Once, she felt the Lord ask her to contribute a certain amount of her money toward the proclaimers. She couldn’t afford that amount. So she prayed, “Okay, Lord. I have to depend on You because I know I can’t do it.” The very next day someone came to deliver two big boxes of groceries. Another person put money in her bank account. “You can’t out-give the Lord, Nancy,” she told me.
Another time, while getting ready to ship Bibles, she received a check for $17 in her mailbox. “I prayed, ‘Lord, it sure would be nice if you let this pay for the shipping,'” as she didn’t have enough money to ship the Bibles. She went to the post office anyway. “You know how much the shipping cost?” she asked me. “Seventeen dollars!”
Loss and Grief
Our family has lost many over the past several months: two cousins, two uncles and my aunt. Others have had serious illness or injury, like a stroke or a heart attack. So much grief and so many prayers to Heaven. Alice’s death hurts me most — partly because she prayed so hard for me and showed me so much Christ-like love.
I grieve for my own loss — not for her. She’s completely healed of her diseases. She’s with Jesus, and her beloved husband Charles, whom she lost eight years ago, also to cancer.
The Bible says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.” (2 Cor. 5:1-3, NIV) A little later in Chapter 5, Paul writes: “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:6-8)
I said goodbye to Alice just a few weeks ago. I am sad, but I know I will see her again. I pray that her proclaimers reach many more and that many are brought to Christ through her life on this earth. Her favorite Bible verse, Romans 10:13-15, was so fitting:
For, ‘every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!’
I just learned that someone anonymously donated $1,000 in Alice’s memory to pay for more proclaimers. Alice would be thrilled.