Handling news that someone’s dying

Today started so wonderfully.

After spending great fellowship with terrific people at my church, I came home and chatted with my mom. Then, I made spontaneous plans to have a fantastic lunch with my sweetie pie of a husband. The sun was shining; all was under control and life felt really good.

Then the phone rang.

Isn’t it funny how one conversation can completely turn your day upside down? Indeed this phone call was one of those. It brought the kind of bad news that feels like a punch in the belly from a monstrous prize fighter.

My neighbor advised me she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Even typing the words make my heart ache.

She’s such a nice older lady. She recently buried her husband as a result of this terrible disease and now she (and her family) has this fresh, painful hurdle ahead of them. Unimaginable.

I instantly sobbed as she explained details of the situation.

Want to hear something odd? Just the other day, I was thinking about how we can sometimes pray selfish prayers. I was pondering if it is appropriate to pray for healing when someone is ready to transition home. This topic just came to my mind for no apparent reason. I remember distinctly asking the Holy Spirit “Are selfish prayers ok?”

I heard no response.

About the same time, my mind went to scripture.

“Hmmm…what selfish prayers are in scripture?”

I knew there had to be lots. Surely, people would ask God for healing or specific victories for very personal reasons.

Determined to do research once I stopped the car, a few instances came instantly to my mind. For one, the Centurion who loved his servant was one. The man whose daughter died was another. Then, there was the mother whose son had passed and the prophet resurrected him. I know of many more.

Who is to say whether selfish prayers are right or wrong? I think most requests and miracles in the Bible were the result of someone’s selfish prayers. But, in His infinite wisdom, God uses those cases to show the world just how mighty He is.

Well, I have a selfish request. I’m going to ask God to keep my neighbor on this side of heaven because I love her. I want her to see her grandchildren grow. I want her children to have a respite from grief. I want to sit on the deck for our chats.

You know, during our conversation, she said something that left a permanent imprint in my spirit. If she continues to live on earth or moves to heaven, I’ll never forget it.

She said “Teri, I have peace. I believe in God and I know there is a heaven. I’m really ok”.

Her comments jarred me a bit. We don’t hear someone with a death diagnosis respond this this way.

A person with such an analysis would be more apt to pray for healing so their desires could come to pass. But, she’s convinced of heaven and a loving, adoring Savior ready to embrace her on the other side.

Her faith is inspiring. I think God is pleased with her response.

You know, it’s easy to forget heaven is a precious promise for those who love the Lord. Sometimes, we can be so earthly minded, we forget our children, friends and husbands are just placeholders in our lives. The real joy, the real paradise is with the Lord.

Also, I repeat. Heaven is a promise – not a goal. That work is done in Christ. If you relinquish your life to Him, it’s yours.

Question: Do we sometimes lose our perspective when we think of death from this life?

Either way, I’m going to pray God heals my neighbor and restores her health for His name sake. She has grandchildren I know she wants to see grow.

Whether God decides to heal her on this side of heaven or the other; He will heal and take wonderful care of my sweet neighbor and friend.

But, my selfish prayer [and thank God he said I could make it known to Him] is that she will live to see many more years in health and even some great-grandchildren one day. If this request aligns with His will, imagine the glory of her testimony! Please say a prayer for her today. Cancer is no match for God should He have work for her to do on this side.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 Click To Tweet

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Update:  God did heal her.  He did in heaven.  Now, heaven is a bit sweeter because yet another person I love is there.  I’ll see you soon enough, Miss Jean. I love you.

Handling news that someone’s dying
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