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Topic: Rejoicing (11/22/04)
TITLE: He Never Ceases to be Good
By Candace Marra
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It had been a long, painful process. I remembered the fateful day the diagnosis was given three years ago. We immediately formed a prayer group just for Cecelia. At first, treatment appeared to be working. It was grueling, but remission seemed to be in her grasp. Yet just when we thought she had turned the corner, she took a turn for the worse and was hospitalized again. That was to be the first of many false hopes. We kept praying and believing for a miracle. She had come so close to getting better, so many times. I wondered why God had allowed us to hope for her healing, only to let her die. Sherice had been so strong. It had been awkward at times, offering her my support, since I had three healthy children of my own. She never stopped trusting God, even though I myself questioned Him many times.
I directed my children to our seats, then walked slowly and tearfully toward Sherice’s hunched figure in the front row. There were no words of comfort to offer. I sat down next to her and wrapped my arms around her as tightly as I could. The two of us cried aloud for what seemed an eternity. We then looked into each other’s tear-stained faces. It was she who spoke. “God is still good,” she said. Stunned, I nodded, kissed her on the cheek, then walked slowly to my seat. She was the one who needed comfort, yet somehow, she was the one offering it.
As the service began, I wondered again how a good God could have allowed this beautiful, exuberant child to suffer so much, only to succumb to death. I was lost in my thoughts, oblivious to what was going on in the service, until Sherice stood up to speak. I marveled at her composure.
“When God gave us Cecelia,” she began, her voice quivering, “I rejoiced. She was a beautiful baby. As she grew into a beautiful child, she taught me many wonderful lessons about life. Just before she got sick, we bought some flowers for our garden. There was an extra one, and it didn’t look like it had much chance of living. As I prepared to throw it away, she insisted we keep it. When I told her it was going to die anyway, she vowed to nurse it back to health. And she did. She never forgot to water that flower. She checked on it at least twice a day. Even when she was hospitalized, she asked about that flower. It is alive and well to this day, all because Cecelia cared enough to save it, even though it looked hopeless.
“This beautiful, innocent child modeled the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We, too, were dying. We, too, were hopeless. We, too, were facing certain destruction, but He saved us. He loves us with the same attentiveness Cecelia showed that flower. And just as she never ceased caring for that flower, so Jesus Christ has never ceased to care for us.
“Cecelia always rejoiced that God was so good. Even in her sickness, she continually reminded me that God was still good. If she could say anything to me today, I know she would tell me not to be sad, but to rejoice because God is still good. Although I miss my little girl very much, I have set my heart to rejoice, because although my little girl’s life on earth has ended, the goodness of God has not. Of course, we are going to have sorrow after losing someone so precious, but let us rejoice in our sorrow today. Nothing can change the fact of His goodness. No matter what happens on earth, there is one thing we can always count on: God is still good.”
I left the funeral a changed woman. Never again would I question the goodness of God without remembering this little girl. Although Cecelia had left this world, her life lesson would forever remain: Rejoice in the Lord in all things, for He never ceases to be good!