“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” Deuteronomy 33:27
“The day before an appointment with her gynecologist in 1985, actress Ann Jillian was filled with terror. Just three days earlier, she had discovered an irregularity in her breast and she feared it was cancer. In her state of alarm, she stopped outside her church as if by instinct. Above the entrance her eyes fixed on an inscription she had never noticed before. The words were from St. Francis de Sales: ‘The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.’
‘The prayer really helped,’ she said a year later. ‘Up to that point, everything was turbulent. Now I looked at those words and went, oh – and released everything into God’s hands. Of course, God wants to help me, I thought, and take me in His arms and take over what I’m feeling!” The news that Ann Jillian got the next day was not good, and she would soon undergo a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.
19 days ago, the news was not good for me and my family. At 10pm that Friday night, my Mom called to tell me my younger sister Lisa was found by her husband in their house unconscious and unresponsive. She was taken to a hospital and was in the ICU fighting for her life. My parents and I drove to Florida that Sunday to be with her and the rest of our immediate family. All of us prayed for a miracle as she lay there in critical condition.
The following Thursday, after a brain MRI, the neurosurgeon told our family Lisa had suffered significant chemical brain damage due to lack of oxygen and that she wasn’t going to make it. And though most of my family, including my sister, are Christians we are devastated by this tragic and unexpected loss of our wife, child, sister, mother and grandmother. How could this happen? God, why didn’t you step in and save her?
For the last several days, after coming back home, I’ve struggled to make sense of her loss. I’ve experienced every emotion possible, including being angry at God for letting this happen. Then yesterday morning I picked up the pamphlet I’d taken at the hospital in Florida. I read the testimony I shared earlier of Ann Jillian. I also read this quote:
“There are places in the human heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering that they may have existence.” – Leon Bloy
Though the grieving and healing from this tragedy have just begun I’m finding peace in the knowledge my baby sister is with her Heavenly Father, where she’ll never again have to endure the many health issues that have plagued her for the last several years, and that many of her family and friends will be reunited with her for eternity. I also believe somehow, some way, that good will come from our suffering…Thanks be to God.
MON-FRI 1P-3P, SUN 6A-10A