Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Tuesday, February 23 Read Job 3

Why is light given to one in misery and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they find the grave? Job 3:20-22

Different Hopes

Life is full of irony! My mom was the middle child in a family of five children. She was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease when she was in her 50s, the first of her siblings to face death. My immediate family was devastated. We feared that she would die from this horrible cancer. But she had surgery, received treatment and lived – only to face another cancer scare, this time in her late 60s. Once again, we hoped for the best but were plagued with thoughts of the worst. We were joyous when she survived a second battle with cancer!

It turns out that my mother, who faced cancer twice, was the last among her nuclear family and friends to die. She buried family member after family member, friend after friend. When my dad died, Mom was left with children, grandchildren and memories. How ironic that this woman who was so close to death twice in her life would be the last to die.

I can almost hear her calling out these words of Job. She would ask me again and again why she could not just die and go to heaven to be with Dad and her family. While she loved being with her children and grandchildren, she just did not have the will to live any longer.

We would let these moments be real, and I would use these moments to tell her how much I needed her in my life. My hope was that she would live forever! Her hope was that she would go home to all those she loved and to Jesus.

Another irony: Hope was alive for both of us, but hope was different for each of us. Gradually, as she continued to fail, my hope changed to her hope – this faithful servant was ready for eternal life. When she broke her hip and was taken to the hospital, her surgeon said the right thing. She was not a candidate for surgery. We took her back to Bethany Home and loved her to the very end. Her hope was fulfilled.

Ultimately, there is no place to put our hope but in God. God knew what God needed in this life from my mother, and God knew when she could come home for good. We may cry out with Job, “Why?” but when our hope is in God, hope lives.

Anita Dorf
Parish Ministry Associate

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