Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ZENITH (04/21/16)
- TITLE: The Sorrow and the Celebration
By Donna Powers
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“I know, Elsie. I can’t imagine what we’ll do without him.”
“We’ve been blessed, Gladys. Our church has had such wonderful teaching since he came to be our pastor.”
“That’s so true. He has such a brilliant mind. He explains the Scriptures so clearly.“
“Oh, my, yes. I understand the Bible so much better now. And my prayer life is so much richer because of his teachings.”
“And that’s not all. Elsie, do you remember when I was sick?”
“I’m not likely to forget it, Gladys. I was so worried about you.”
“When he came to the hospital, he prayed with me. He sat right there and held my hand before they took me into the operating room – and then he waited with you until I came out. I felt so at peace through the whole thing.”
“I couldn’t have gotten through that day without him, Gladys. I thought I'd lose my only sister that day. But he sat with me. He didn’t even talk much. He made me feel better just by sitting next to me.”
“This is so sad.”
“Yes. Such a loss for the church.”
"Oh, dear! What will the youth group do without him? And the missionary council? The jail ministry? I don’t know how our church will survive.”
“I guess we’ll find another pastor, but it won’t be the same.”
“I have to agree with you there, Elsie. This will be the end of an era for us.”
“We may have to switch churches, Gladys. After he leaves, I fear our church will go downhill.”
“I’m afraid so. Sigh. Such a shame.”
I can hear them as they bustle about my kitchen. They’ve been coming every few days to do my laundry and tidy up. I appreciate these dear sisters, and am so grateful the Lord has provided them.
I have a home care nurse, but of course she tends only to my physical needs. These dear sisters are a precious gift from God.
I wish this awful disease had left me the power of speech. If I could speak, I’d tell them what the end of my life looks like to me. I’d tell them it’s not a sad thing.
Oh, I agree: there will be changes to this branch of the Body of Christ. But another servant will surely be sent by God to take my place. For that’s what I’ve been: merely a servant. If there has been anything special about my service to this church, it has only been due to Christ’s power within me. I have faith that as that next servant yields to Christ’s power and direction, there will be much this church will do in the future – for many decades after I am gone from this earth.
It does not seem as though I stand at the end of life’s race. I see a long, sloping hill – and I am climbing upward. My physical body can no longer walk, but through God’s power I am effortlessly climbing that hill. I can see the peak from here – and there is a glorious sun at the top. I will soon be there, and I can only rejoice for this opportunity. When I get there, it will be the beginning of a new phase of my life: my heavenly journey will begin.
Dear sisters, do not grieve. I am approaching that peak, and I yearn for its height. All those good works you so ardently praise? They are not what will bring me there; it is only through His strength I could do them – and only by His Grace I will reach that peak – and enter into His glory.
It’s not a shame. It’s a celebration! Glory to God!
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