Easter, Healing, Death, and the Resurrection

30 04 2009

I had an opportunity on Easter Sunday to speak briefly to the nursing staff on the floor of the hospital where my mom was being treated.  About seven or eight nurses and others gathered with me in a back room for a time of Scripture reading and prayer.  I am very glad for this opportunity, first of all because it gave me an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.  But I am also glad because it gave me a moment of reflection on the resurrection that helped me to better understand the place of healing and death in the life of the believer.

After the death of Anna I had a strong sense that Anna’s final state was a good thing.  Anna, being absent from the body, is present with the Lord.  Being present with the Lord is a good thing.  The question I had to ask myself at that time was, if it is true that to be present with the Lord is better than our state now, if as Paul says, to live is Christ and to die is gain, then why don’t we all kill ourselves in order to be with the Lord?  Or, put another way, why do we hold on to life so dearly?  Why do we fight death at the moment it appears?  I recall a passage from a book I read while in seminary that dealt with the issues of death and dying.  The author told a story, I believe it was supposed to be a true story, about an incident in the 19th century when an American Indian chief was being tried by the army and had been sentenced to die by execution.  At the hanging, a minister was present who gave a brief sermon about the afterlife and about the goodness of being with the Lord.  He contrasted the fallenness of this world with its sickness and problems with the blessedness of being with the Lord.  After he finished the Indian chief calmly said to him, “If that is true, then why don’t we switch places.  I like it here.”  The author concluded his story not with the simple distinction between the Native American and Christian view of death, but instead by noting that the minister in the story hurriedly refused the offer, saying that it was not possible to switch places.  The author of the book noted the paradox of the minister’s position.  If what he said about death and the blessedness of being with the Lord was true, then why did he so instinctively and tenaciously hang on to life?

I think I discovered my own answer to that question on Easter morning while I was talking to the nurses.  I told them that my mother was in the hospital because of her cancer.  She is very sick.  I hope and pray that she walks out of the hospital and lives to see another Easter next year.  But in the end, whether it is this year or next, my mother will die.  In fact, every patient that those nurses and doctors treat will die.  I explained to them that if they are in the business of fighting death, they will lose 100% of the time.  Every one of their patients, without exception, will die.

But if we can look forward to the resurrection as a time of restoration, as a time of ultimate healing from the sickness and corruption of this world, then we can begin to see that our little healings along the way are slight glimmers God gives us now so that we will understand the final healing to come.  In other words, each one of us will die.  Each one of us will be raised from the dead at the second coming of Christ.  Some will be raised to eternal life and some to eternal damnation, but all will be raised to live again.  In God’s coming kingdom there will be no sickness and death.  There will be no need for healing.  But healing in this life serves the same function in our physical bodies as our acts of righteousness do in terms of our sanctified soul.  We are not yet fully sanctified.  We are not without sin.  But we strive toward that knowing that at the resurrection all will be made right.  We don’t abandon our efforts at goodness simply because we know that we will not be perfect.  In the same way, we do not abandon our bodies to sickness and disease simply because we know that in the end we will die.  Instead, the healing that takes  place in our bodies is a foretaste of the disease-free life we will live when God’s Kingdom is finally established.

So I told the health care workers on Easter Sunday that if they are fighting against death, they are doomed to fail 100% of the time, because every one of their patients will be claimed by death eventually.  But if, instead, they see their work as a partnership with God to bring about small hints and foretastes of the resurrection and God’ eventual victory over death, then they will succeed 100% of the time.  Because whether their patient lives to see another day, or dies during treatment, they are working not as fight against death, but as a precursor to the resurrection.

Anna Resurget.  Anna will rise again.

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Please Continue to Pray

24 04 2009

My mom is back in the hospital with an infection.  It seems serious, but we don’t have final information yet from the doctors.





South Carolina Reads About Anna

23 04 2009

The Baptist Courier of South Carolina share a little about Anna with the information taken from the Southern Seminary newspaper, The Towers.  Don Kirkland concludes by saying:

Clearly, they do [believe what they preach, speaking of the McClain family who lost their adult daughter]. And so must we when our lives are shaken to the core by circumstances that leave us holding onto faith for dear life — or rather, that leave us being held onto by a loving, caring God who must remain unfathomable, but who is nonetheless trustworthy in the midst of our suffering and sorrow.

He understands it well.





Thanks for your prayers, so far.

23 04 2009

My mom is home from the hospital.  She was in for almost two weeks following her surgery.  The surgery was serious and it was not an easy recovery, but Mom is strong and she did well.  She handled her stay in the hospital with as much grace as I can imagine a person having under those circumstances.  She was always friendly towards her caregivers, even when they were giving care that was less than comfortable.

Our family has only good things to say about the care my mom received at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, CA.  Every nurse and nurse’s assistant was friendly and I never heard a complaint from them.

***

I just had a call yesterday that my mom went back to a local hospital to receive some fluids.  Her blood pressure dropped pretty low.  She spent the night there and we received a message that there were some other little things, but we don’t know what those things are yet.

Please continue to pray.  She is not out of the woods yet.

Also pray for my dad.  He is standing up well, but I know this is very hard on him.  My sister-in-law, Dianna, is doing much to care for Mom and Timberley is planning on going out for a few weeks to help clean and do the laundry, etc.





Please Pray for My Mother

11 04 2009

I have not written about this yet.  I guess out of concern for privacy, but I want to let you know what is happening with my mother, Deloris.  About six weeks ago my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She was complaining of some stomach problems and went to a walk-in clinic.  The doctor ordered some scans and found out about the cancer.  We have been to several other doctors since then to find out how best to handle this.  We found out she would need extensive surgery and then chemotherapy to follow the surgery.

She entered the hospital for surgery last  Monday.  Following surgery she stayed in ICU until yesterday morning (Friday).  She is in a private room now with a beautiful view from her fifth floor window.  She is receiving good care.  She is at John Muir Memorial Hospital in Walnut Creek.

As far as we can tell the surgery was successful.  We are still waiting for test results from the doctor, but we are optimistic right now.  Mom is doing well, but in some pain.  She has some congestion in her lungs as a result of the surgery and the breathing tubes that were inserted.  Her biggest concern does not seem to be the surgery itself, but rather the congestion in her lungs. Please pray for her that God would heal her from the surgery she has gone through, but also pray that he would heal the congestion in her lungs.  Pray that God would comfort her and give her rest.  Pray most of all that Mom would know the presence and comfort of the Lord during this time.  It is a period of bitter grace.





What Does Samuel Borger Have To Do with Winston Churchill?

8 04 2009

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Samuel just completed quite an accomplishment.  He memorized and presented to Mrs. Lowe, the founder of his school, the poem “Horatius at the Bridge.”  It is long.  It takes about 30 minutes to recite, but he did it flawlessly.  It is part of a program for sixth graders at his school to win the Winston Churchill Award.  This is from Mrs. Lowe:

Horatius at the Bridge has been a favorite of school children and a staple of classical education for over a century.  Two authors who refer to the poem as a memorable part of their education are Winston Churchill, who reports having memorized the whole poem at Harrow, and V.M. Hillyer, the first headmaster of Calvert School, who declares in his art history series for children that it is his favorite poem.  I always tell our students that it is one of my favorite poems, too.
At Highlands Latin School our sixth graders study Horatius at the Bridge in the Winter Term and are challenged to memorize the whole poem (70 stanzas). Students who accomplish this remarkable feat receive the coveted “Winston Churchill Award” at the Closing School Ceremony.  – Cheryl Lowe, Founder, Highlands Latin School

Samuel will receive his award at the graduation and awards ceremony in May.

Way to go, Sam!





Oh, Daddy! My Hero!

7 04 2009

Anna would be so proud of her Daddy.  From WHAS in Louisville.

Man charged after police say he was using stolen computer

 05:09 PM EDT on Friday, April 3, 2009Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Louisville man is facing charges after police say he was using a stolen computer and he was caught red handed.  

C______  B. C_______  junior is charged with receiving stolen property and fleeing or evading police.

Police say C______ was found at a coffee shop using a stolen laptop from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Police say a professor at the seminary caught him using the computer.

C____ ran when he saw the professor and was caught shortly after by police.