Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Go In Jesus' Name

My mom and I spent most of this evening at the hospital, as we have many times this week. My grandmother is currently hospitalized with multiple serious problems, and she is probably close to death. At almost 88 years, she is aware, as are we, that the clock alone is against her. Tonight, however she was doing better, able to joke and laugh with us and my aunt.

Awhile after my aunt left, my mom and I also prepared to go home. We prayed with her for a good night's rest and that God's presence and peace would fill the room. Her nurse, Carol, came in as we were praying, and when we were finished, she said "Amen! I'm glad you know how to pray." From her previous mannerisms and choice of words, we had suspected she was a believer, and she now confirmed it. "Yes, we're all believers here." Mom wanted to make sure my grandmother understood. "You hear that, Nanny? She loves Jesus, just like us." "Oh, yes," Carol agreed. "I couldn't make it through without Him." She took Nanny's hand then, and spoke as if she had known our family for a long time.

"Whatever happens, we go in Jesus' name. See, I had told you that you were blessed, having four kids who turned out like this - and one boy is a pastor too,right? See that's blessing; luck has nothing to do with it. It's only by the
grace and love of Jesus."
"Amen!" my grandmother agreed as forcefully as I have heard her in recent days. "That's right," my mom agreed. To Carol she said, "She's loved God all her life. She was always faithful to have us in church." Carol couldn't have known of the courage Nanny displayed daily to raise her kids in a rough and unpleasant, and at times dangerous, environment. My family is a testimony to the grace of God. All of this was dead on and true.

But it was the first sentence that struck me. "Whatever happens, we go in Jesus' name." I immediately took it for a double meaning, or perhaps one meaning that is not nearly as dichotomous as it first seems. We go with Jesus in life, obeying and walking with Him through everyday challenges. But we also go with Him in death. And whatever happens, we trust in the power of His name.

That's where I'm at right now. I trust my God, and He alone numbers our days. I will soon see my grandmother go with Jesus in death, but it is not an end. When she goes with Jesus, she will know what life truly is. I will continue to go with Jesus in this life, on this earth, struggling to see the rays of heavenly life through the dark mist and fog that so often surrounds me in the valleys.

Her walk with Jesus will differ from mine for a few seconds. She will go on before me to join the great cloud of witnesses, cheering me on as I go with Jesus, running my race on this planet. But then eternity will come, and I will know true life as she has known it for a few moments longer than I. We will dwell in the presence of God forever. That is our hope and our peace in times of trouble. And it is very beautiful.

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