Joy of Antonio
A week ago I received an email that came far too soon: “We are sorry to inform you that Antonio died 2 days ago and was buried yesterday”. I cried.
I was overcome with sadness, but also with questions: What else could we have done? Had we not done enough? What can I say to all those who have been praying for Antonio and to those who made her surgery possible? Were the efforts of adding a few years to her young life all for naught?
But God opened my eyes and heart to reveal His truth.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing
before you. Everyone is but a breath, even
those who seem secure. Psalm 39:5
Why do we desperately cling to life on earth? Is it a fear of death or perhaps a regret of leaving behind those we love, or those who depend on us? But our God promises to be with them, and isn’t His care and love far greater than anything we can provide? Perhaps the fear of death is tied to the notion we have not finished our work, but that too may be self- centered. God’s work will go on without us.
So I think back to young Antonio, and the fact that rather than having two years added to her life, she had only two months. However, she had two months without pain, and the precious opportunity to return home to her family in Angola rather than dying in a faraway land. God chose to bring her home into His light, sooner than we envisioned. What joy!
I remember the words of a pastor in Kenya who eulogized someone who had recently died in his church. He told us that the man had just ‘moved upstairs’. Wow. What an analogy! And what a joy to know that Antonio as well, has ‘moved upstairs’. Her pain is gone, her sight is restored, and she is able to see the Glory of God.
In Hebrews 11,
heroes of the faith admitted that they were “strangers and pilgrims on earth”.
We are all to live as strangers and pilgrims on earth. The terrible heart-wrenching tragedies we see unfold will come to an end. Our salvation is in the Lord, and that day is closer today than it ever was.
And we, too, will walk into the light of God’s glory.