|Doesn't my husband's grandmother have a great smile?|
In the quiet of the dimly lit bedroom her daughter prays for her. Words declaring that when she draws her final breath in that moment she will she Jesus face to face. The prayer continues filled with praises to Jesus, of his goodness and of his presence. When the Amens are said, this 92-year-old woman, who labors for every breath, whispers, “Thank you, Jesus.”
She must know her time on earth is coming to an end. Her physical body is failing her. It is too tired to work for her anymore. It has served her well for over nine decades, but as the word says our bodies are dying, but our spirits are being renewed day by day.
For the past three years, her health has been declining. She has become weaker and slowly unable to care for herself. I, along with the rest of the family, have had the privilege of observing a woman who knows how to finish well. Despite her circumstances, she did not quit living. She did not quit walking with Jesus.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. (2 Timothy 4:7)
How does one spend day after day in a small bedroom and not loose her mind? She keeps her mind fixed on Jesus. She keeps His words open on her lap. She keeps her mouth filled with his name. Jesus. Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. She keeps her ears open to hymns of old sung by her daughter. She keeps her requests for more of him.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13-14)
She finishes well. She does what she can with what she has. Her life does not become wait on me hand and foot. Instead it is, “ I need to brush my teeth.” I get her the toothbrush and squirt some toothpaste on it and she brushes. “I hope I got them clean enough.”
She finishes well. She does what she can with what she has. Her life does not become closed. Instead it is, “Peek-a-boo.” She sweetly plays with her youngest great-grandsons. Her eyes light up with the loud toddler screams of delight and also, at times, discount. She does not shoo the ruckus or the mess away in exchange for peace, rather she welcomes it all into her little space. She plays the only game she can and smiles. And the boys know they are greatly loved.
She finishes well. She does what she can with what she has. Her life does not become bitter. Instead it is, “Thank you, Jesus.” With whatever breath she has left she returns gratitude to one who gives her life today and for eternity.
And now her faithfulness has been rewarded.
And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. (2 Timothy 4:8)
All of us are challenged to finish our race well. The reality is that every day I need to run my race well because it could be my last. So I am doing what I can with what I have. Do I care for my body? Do I care for others? Do I care for Jesus with a heart of gratitude? Am I finishing well? Are you finishing well? Lord, help us all to finish the race set before us well.