Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

LIFE ISSUES

THE FINAL FAREWELL

by Mike Robinson


Marj squeezed my hand as I stood by her hospital bed. I knew in that physical contact she was saying farewell to me and emotion stirred deeply in my heart. I felt I would be choked by the lump in my throat.

Four years previously her husband had died. Two years later the first symptoms of cancer appeared in her body.

Marj was an amazing lady. Rarely have I seen such a beautiful transformation in the midst of sickness. While her physical body was savagely victimised by the disease, her inner life and faith had grown strong and radiant. The outer casing may have been deteriorating but the inner person was never more alive.

My farewell that day with Marj powerfully brought home memories of my own mother's death. That day with Marj I re-lived how I stood, gowned and masked, at the foot of my mum's hospital bed. Like Marj, mum had a strong, deep faith in God that resolved for her the issues of life, death and eternity. Mum and I talked about her funeral. She told me what she would like read in the service and the hymns she would like us to sing. Does that sound weird to you? I tell you it was such a rich and special time because of the deep and unshakeable assurance within both our hearts.

At the same time, it was heart-breaking. I longed to hold her, touch her and kiss her. But the risk of infection was too great.

Then I said farewell. As I left her room to travel back home interstate, I somehow sensed that I had seen and spoken to my mum for the last time here on earth.

The landscape of death would be indescribably bleak and desolate were it not for the most amazing event in the history of the world - the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. For those who become disciples of Jesus, that landscape is now transformed into a doorway into his presence forever.


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