"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:2-5 (ESV)
I would be surprised if she stood more than five feet tall. She was tiny but she was bold and one of the most accepting and loving people I have ever met. It was my great blessing to work with her for several years. Although I didn't know it at the time, she would be one of those who would leave a huge impression in my life and heart. For the purposes of this article I will refer to her as "Rose".
Rose lived an interesting life. She had experienced a lot of hard times and sometimes didn't know how she would make it through. She was determined, however, to live fully so she took a lot of chances and tried many things that many of us would shy away from. She went through alcoholism, bad relationships and tragedy. I can remember listening to her recount her memories and wondering how she had gone through so much and come out with the heart of gold that she possessed. When I asked her about it, she just smiled and said one word, "Jesus."
She passed away from cancer earlier this year. I had the chance to chat with her online a few times before she passed. She never had one bad thing to say about being ill. She just said she was being able to spend a lot of time alone with the Lord and that made her happy. She wasn't worried about the future and didn't complain about the pain. Her only concern was that she spend every moment she had sharing His love.
I've been thinking about Rose a lot lately and wondering what she would have to say about the protests and rioting that have been going on in this country. I think I know what her reaction would have been. I believe she would have gone out into the streets and used the opportunity to share the Gospel. When I told you before that she was bold, I meant it. Because of the life she had led, she believed that she had a Heavenly Protector and that, if necessary, He would send His angels to shield her. This is the faith that she walked in and this is why I feel so fortunate to have known her.
Many people enter our lives. Some may stay only for a moment and others for a lifetime. I truly believe that there is a purpose for each encounter. Rose believed that as well and she took every opportunity she was given to plant seeds of faith in each heart. She lived fully aware that life was brief and that it was important to use each moment wisely. Her difficult life had taught her that God's grace is sufficient and her entire goal was to use each breath she took to make sure everyone else knew that as well. There may have been a grand celebration when she entered Heaven, but I know all she wanted to do was to bow before her Lord Jesus and tell Him personally how very much she loved Him.
What a woman. What a witness.