Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Perseverance of a Saint

Two days ago about half past ten in the evening I got a call to tell me that my 85 year old great aunt had died. She had been in a steady decline for a few months and a fall just before Christmas spelt the beginning of the end. From that moment on she would never sit in her armchair and read her Bible again or pick tomatoes from her greenhouse to make soup, or make me pancakes for breakfast.

We all knew she was sick; she refused to tell us just how bad the cancer was but she didn’t want any treatment, she just wanted to “go home”.
You see my great aunt loved Jesus and had done from a very young age; she and my uncle glorified the Lord during 60+ years of marriage, and attended and served the same church their whole life. So when I asked her how she was a couple of months ago her reply was;

“Tired… I’m ready to go home, but I’m ready in his time”.

Like I said ‘his time’ came not more than 48 hrs ago, but as I sit and reflect on those last days with her I cannot help but thank God that he has shown me what it means for a saint to persevere.

It was late on Saturday night when I went over, we didn’t think she would last the night so I grabbed my bible and jumped into the car. On the way over I was wracking my brains and praying for the right thing to say, what to read, what to pray?

The room was dimly lit and peaceful; no beeping machines, no hiss of oxygen, just my grandmother (her sister), my aunt and me. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I spoke to her she opened her eyes and smiled. I took her hand and asked her if there were any Psalms she would like me to read, and slowly she said the words;

“One two one”:

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

My aunt was coming to the end of her life, she knew that soon she would breathe her last breath and so for the last time in her 60+ year walk with Jesus she lifted her eyes to him. She knew that the Lord, who had watched over her whole life, through the breakers of pain and suffering, that he would not let her foot slip now. Even though she lay there in weakness and frailty, the roots of her faith dug deep into the faithfulness of her God and she would not be moved, not even by death.

And now… now as I write my family is grieving and I miss my aunt. Have I wept… yes; but not tears of despair or uncertainty, rather tears of sadness in the face of separation. They are tears tinged with joy, that she now beholds her King face to face. This is the perseverance of a saint; that she finished the race and that God who began a good work in her all those years ago has brought it to completion.

Soli Deo Gloria