Finishing Well

15 Apr

Last night my husband, who is an associate pastor, received a call from one of our church members that his wife, M.J., had been given 24-36 hours to live. M.J. had had a two year battle with cancer and the past six-seven weeks had been spent in the hospital with doctors trying desperately to identify and treat a new set of issues for her. Within a few hours of that call, we received another that she had passed away.

 

M.J., her husband, Norm, and their children are dear friends to us. Even as I type this, tears are in my eyes. I loved her dearly and was loved by her – as was anyone she knew and/or met. M.J. was that kind of woman. All I could say when we got the news of her death is that she finished well.

 

I’ve been thinking all morning about that phrase – finishing well. How does one finish this life well? Here are some things I observed from my friend’s life that I think we can all implement.

 

M.J. recognized she was in a battle for her physical health as well as her spiritual health. She fought hard to get well. She did not give in to her circumstances. She did not give in to fear and discouragement. It’s not that she didn’t experience those things. She just did not let them rule her. M.J. acknowledged them openly, but chose not to stay there. Being mad at God and giving up were not in her spiritual DNA. M.J. overcame “because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of [her] testimony, and [she] did not love [her] life even when faced with death” (Revelation 12:11).

 

She filled her mind with truth (Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8). Not a week went by that she did not post along with an update on her condition, a devotional thought or scripture. M.J. soaked up God’s Word through personal reading, listening to sermons, and reading from godly writers. She listened to Christian music that led her in worship. If she couldn’t do these on her own, her family members would read and sing to her. M.J. cooperated with God to finish the good work He had begun in her (Philippians 1:6).

 

She shared what she was going through and learning with others. She posted regularly through Facebook and Caring Bridge. Her family members told how doctors and nurses enjoyed coming to her room because she would listen to their needs and then share with them the hope she had in Christ. M.J. identified with their hurts and failures because she had experienced them herself and knew what Christ had done to change her life. (2 Corinthians 4:9-11)

 

She thought of others – her family, her friends, her co-workers, her church, etc. And she prayed for them. If she knew you were going through something, she would be one of the first to contact you and let you know of those prayers. She was extremely sick, but her heart was always toward people (Philippians 2:3-4).

 

M.J. voluntarily presented her life to the sovereignty of her Heavenly Father to do with as He saw fit (Romans 12:1; Luke 9:23). She kept her eye on the Prize (Hebrews 12:1-2; Philippians 3:13-14) Though she prayed and sought healing, she wanted His will and best above her own. Her sweet and supportive family joined her in this. The lives and testimonies of this family spoke volumes for Christ as they walked through her illness.

 

I’m forever grateful to have known M.J. I look forward to seeing her again. I said it last night, and I say it again today. You finished well, Girl! Thanks for setting the pace.

 

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

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3 Responses to “Finishing Well”

  1. Bonnie April 15, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Thank you for expressing so well how many of us feel.

    • Bobbi Brady April 16, 2013 at 4:05 am #

      Oh Darise!

  2. Harriett Smith April 16, 2013 at 4:28 am #

    I ditto what Bonnie said, thanks for exressing what the rest of us feel, MJ did ‘finish well’

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