I had been at the hospital visiting a dear friend who didn’t have much longer to live. As I stepped out into the parking lot, the cold bleak sky mirrored what seemed to me to be the mood of the world. Scattered across the pavement was what looked like a complete deck of playing cards. It struck me as a little strange—you could see a card or two slipping out and not being noticed, but not a whole deck. Nonetheless, there they were. Some of the cards were face up, some were face down, all were in disarray. I thought about my friend and how unlike those cards her life was. It was in order—right down to the funeral arrangements. She had been a follower of Jesus for a long, long time. She wasn’t perfect, but she was faithful. She followed Him when it was easy and when it wasn’t. She had experienced her share of hard times, pain, and disappointment, but through it all she seemed to maintain a quiet peace and a steady purpose.
She had not only given her life to Jesus; she had given it to others as well. Giving your life to Jesus is easy—He’ll treat you better than anyone ever has. Giving your life to others is a different matter. Christ did it and they crucified Him. While that’s not likely to happen to us, the little snips and slights can at times seem like death by a thousand paper cuts.
My friend has gone on to better things which is to say she is with the Lord. My son lives in another state and had met her a few times, but knew her mainly through what Janice and I told him. When I texted him that she had passed away he responded by asking if it had been sudden. He knew she had not been well but not to that extent. I told him she had gone into the hospital on a Monday and died on Thursday so it was somewhere between sudden and lingering. I concluded with, “She’s better than she’s ever been now.”
His text shot back, “Good point.”
And it was because it’s not really my point, it belongs to Jesus. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,” (John 11:25). Shortly after He spoke these words, He brought Lazarus, dead for four days, back to life. (Another good point!). I don’t know who those cards were preaching to that day, but it wasn’t my friend. Jesus had been holding her cards for a long time. If you don’t belong to Him allow me to make a suggestion—it would probably be a good thing to ask yourself who is holding your cards. The last thing you want is to have them scattered across a parking lot.