My friend Jamie B. just passed away this week after struggling cancer that had spread to her whole body. Although I did not know her that well, she made such an impact on me and everyone around her. Jamie had been married once, divorced, and remarried. She had a large blended family and I got to know her husband and several of her daughters. Above all, she was a very devout Christian and a godly woman.
During her trials for the last two years, everyone around her really supported her and rallied around her. Her medical bills alone would be a trial but she and her family managed to raise the support needed, especially for travels to clinics that had revolutionary or experimental treatments with promise but not always approved by US standards. Towards the end when the treatments were not working, everyone started to wonder what would happen next. Everyone prayed for a miraculous healing and we should ask God in expectantly. Even if the answer was no, we should still ask.
Jamie and her husband Darin had a slightly different approach. They learned to ask: “God, what are You teaching us?” One thing they did was to go around sharing her testimony and what God is doing in their family. They ended up sharing at multiple churches’ women’s ministries and eventually at our church. We devoted an entire service to hear Jamie’s story. These were probably the last words she said in public to me. (Her entire story is taped and archived somewhere.)
Suffering produces joy.
Suffering produces death to self.
- When you say “yes” to Jesus, you also say ‘yes’ to all the trials He puts you through.
- Jesus had healed a blind man recounted in the Gospel of John chapter 9. When the disciples saw the blind man, they asked Jesus: “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” Jesus answered that neither condition was true but that the glory of God may be shown.
- When we die to self only then will we find true life. It may seem unfair because Jamie loved traveling and obviously wanted to see her children mature and start their own families. However, Jamie chose to draw nearer to Jesus first.
Suffering produces humility.
How true and beautiful. And how counter-intuitive at times to prevailing “wisdom”. We don’t want to suffer. We don’t want to lose our hard earned income to doctors. But Jamie lived by her own words: she was joyful to the end, humble, and encouraged others to draw near to Jesus.
Right now, Jamie is in the presence of the Lord Jesus; no more cancer, no more pain, no more tears. We definitely miss her.