It was a beautiful warm summer morning. Flowers were in bloom. The sun was just beginning to arise, ushering in a new day. The trees swayed in the gentle breeze as if to give praise to God’s creation also.
“This would be a great morning for a run”, thought MaryLynn. Dressed in navy shorts, with a pink shirt she put on her running shoes, closed the back door and was off running toward the nearby park. The park would be quiet this morning. It always seemed to be this time of day. As she began her run, she was humming a song she had heard in church the day before, “I’m so glad Jesus lifted me……Glory Hallelujah! Jesus lifted me.” This was going to be a great day, a perfect beginning to a new week.
Sarah didn’t find this day to be so perfect. The beginning of her week was bringing her sadness and sorrow. The devastating report on Saturday that she had a terminal illness was more than she could handle. She came to the park to be alone, to think, to see if she could find some answers. What was her family going to do without her? What would happen to her two young sons? Why was God doing this to her now? She was only thirty-four years old. Weary, she sat on a park bench and let the tears fall.
Rounding the corner, MaryLynn saw Sarah sitting on the bench. The Spirit seemed to say to her, “Go sit with her.” In obedience, she did just that.
“Hi! My name is MaryLynn. What a beautiful morning. Don’t you just love this kind of day?”
“Hi, MaryLynn. My name is Sarah. Yea, this is a nice day, but things aren’t so nice right now for me.”
“Do you want to talk about it? I am a great listener.”
“I received some devastating news on Saturday. I have a terminal illness. I’ve been given six months to live. I have a husband and two small boys at home. I am so scared. How do I handle this?”
“Wow. Now I know the reason for your tears. Sarah, what about this news makes you the most afraid?
“What is going to happen to my family? How will they survive without me? I’m afraid of death – the hereafter.”
“Sarah, let me share with you how you can have peace in your life at this moment. How you can place your family into the care of Jesus, but most of all, how you do not have to fear death but can have the assurance of eternal life.”
MaryLynn then went on to explain the Good News of salvation with Sarah. How Jesus paid the ultimate price with his own death at Calvary so she could have the assurance of sins forgiven and the hope of eternal life as she placed her faith in Jesus alone for her salvation. MaryLynn assured Sarah that God would take care of her family, meeting their needs, loving them, encouraging them, and being there for them long after Sarah could no longer be there. Although Sarah’s day began on a note of dread, MaryLynn showed Sarah how the end of her day could be filled with joy and rejoicing because of Jesus.
On a bench, in the middle of a park, on a beautiful summer day Sarah bowed her head and prayed a prayer that MaryLynn shared with her. At the end of her prayer, Sarah knew she was a new person in Christ. Her sins were forgiven. She had hope for the future – however long that would be – and she had hope for her family. One thing MaryLynn had shared was that, even in her deepest moment of sorrow, Jesus would be there to “lift her up” and give her strength to go on.
With a quick embrace and a promise to get together again, Sarah began her journey home with a heart full rejoicing. Truly the end of her life was going to be wonderful – and all because of Jesus.
MaryLynn continued to sit quietly on the park bench and reflected on what had just happened. She closed her eyes, and breathed a silent prayer. “Spirit, I thank you so much for prompting me to approach Sarah. May today be a new beginning for her and her family as they come to rest in Your love. May they never look back on what once was, but always look ahead to what they have in You.”
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