Today, I had to the privilege of visiting a woman who is dying of cancer. She is not an elderly woman; in fact, she’s middle aged. She does not fear death, for she knows without a doubt that her eternity is secure in Christ and that she will be with him when she passes from this life. At the same time, she would love to remain in this life for the sake of her family.
While I was impressed by her strong faith and the certainty it has given her for her eternal future, I was even more blessed by another aspect of her faith: namely, the spiritual growth she is experiencing through her ordeal. Here is a woman who no longer eats solid food, who is exhausted by more than ten minutes of conversation, and for whom the simple act of shifting her position on the sofa brings excruciating pain. Much of her life is shutting down, but her spiritual life continues to grow like a weed. She spoke of how she is learning to submit to the sovereignty of God as she has prayed for healing and has not received it. She spoke of things she is learning about God and hopes to learn in the future, even as her future appears to be very limited. The doctors tell her that she is nearing death; nevertheless, she continues to grow in grace and in the knowledge of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). When the Lord does call her home, she will cross the finish line at a full sprint.
We will all one day face the end of our lives on this earth, and for many of us, our ends will come in a manner similar to this woman’s in that our bodies will shut down gradually. But one thing we can all learn from the shining testimony of this dear saint is that, regardless of what happens to our physical bodies, spiritually we need never stop growing.