Summer is finally in full swing, and it’s been a while since I have posted. God has certainly been pricking my heart to write, but, to be honest, I didn’t know where to start or how to express what I have been feeling. You see, over the past month, I have been emotionally overwhelmed with the reality of intense sadness and extreme loss as I witnessed two precious young women fight a long hard battle against the devastating disease of cancer and lose – Elliot Patterson Williams and Laura Gautney Black.
While, I didn’t have the privilege of personally knowing both women in their last months on this earth, I feel as if I have journeyed with them as I followed their Caring Bridge websites and read each post along the way. Both women were wives, mothers, daughters and friends to many. Both women were passionately in love with Christ. And both women had an unwavering faith throughout their battle with cancer – desperate to glorify God and draw others closer to Him. Their faith, along with the faith of their families, has truly been life changing for me, and I am eternally grateful for the lessons I have learned over the past few months. I have watched these women exemplify what it means to love our Lord unconditionally, to surrender everything to Him, to depend on Him alone, to trust His ways are higher than ours, and, most importantly, to appreciate every day we are given on this earth. As the Psalmist wrote, “this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (118:24). Yes, life is a gift to be celebrated, and we each have a purpose to fulfill. Today, God is calling out to you to act on His behalf – are you listening? Thanks to Elliot and Laura, I feel my ears are more in tune to hearing His words.
Over the past few days, God has helped me realize that every day, we change. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we change. Each day we either grow upward towards our Heavenly Father or we decline downward, but we do not stay the same. There is no steady state. We either get better, or we get worse. And just as Elliot and Laura fought against their flesh in their battles with cancer, we, too, are fighting against our flesh. In fact, many of us are under attack, and we don’t even recognize it! We complain about the unfairness of this life. We struggle with hurt feelings and revenge. We are consumed with jealousy and covetousness. We hold onto unforgiveness and impatience. We submit to self-righteousness and hypocrisy – all the while God shakes His head, desperate for us to “get it.” So, through His amazing mercy and grace, He allows us to experience an Elliot or a Laura, and we are so lovingly slapped in the face with what is really important – Our walk with Christ and subsequent trust in Him and dependence on Him. Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” Are we the thief prohibiting the understanding of the abundant life Jesus called every Believer to experience? I tend to think yes. We must be on our guard and stand firm in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) as Elliot and Laura did if we want to experience victory in this earthly life!
Today, I rest, and hope others do as well, in knowing Elliot and Laura are basking in the unbelievable greatness of our God’s glory. They see the completed picture. They are no longer struggling with their flesh, as their steadfast faith has brought them home. St. Augustine wrote, “Faith is believing what you do not see, the reward of faith is to see what you believe.” Laura and Elliot have received their reward in full as they are face to face with our Creator and Savior. The image gives me peace, and hope, and joy – I pray it gives their family and friends the same. In the meantime, we continue to try and put the puzzle pieces of life together and fight off our fleshly desires, recognizing for “now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we (too) shall see face to face. Now (we) know in part; then (we) shall know fully, even as (we are) fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Face to face with the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. It’s overwhelming to imagine, but for those who believe and rely on Christ, it is a glimpse into our future – a future without the war against flesh – a future experiencing victory through faith. Amen glorious Father. Amen.
Until next time, kneeling before the magnificent throne of our Lord – thankful for two women who have opened my eyes to the precious gift of life and forever shaped my walk, and countless others, with the great I Am…Katie