I know a lady who is waiting to die. She has been waiting to die for a long time now. She decided, years ago, that she was done living. She was tired. She had had enough. She just didn’t care anymore, and she was done. She just wants to be with Jesus, as she puts it. So she has stopped living and just started waiting. Mind you, she’s still alive, at least in the physical sense (much to her disappointment). But she isn’t really living. She’s waiting.
I’m sad about this because I really love this lady. I have always loved being around her, and I want her to know how much she has meant to me. Once upon a time she brightened many a day for me. She was always excited to see me, always wanted to know all about how I was and what I was up to, always listened in that real way that not many people can do. She refreshed my soul just by being in the world and caring about me.
I can understand why she gave up. She has suffered a lot, and she is weary. She often doesn’t feel well. Maybe she thinks she has done all she could. Maybe she feels it’s unfair, having to suffer so much and wait so long. So now she is resigned to waiting for the end. Only I don’t think she is done. I think she has a lot left in her to give, if only she would see it. When I am with her now, I sense that she isn’t really there, doesn’t really care all that much. She loves me, but she’s done. It makes me so sad.
I know another lady who is also waiting for the end. She’s also old, and weary, and has suffered a lot, and often doesn’t feel well. She is just as excited to be finished with her race, just as ready to be done. Only there is a difference. This lady isn’t waiting to be with Jesus. She is with Jesus already. She is so filled up with Jesus that he radiates from her, lighting up every room she enters. Knowing Jesus makes her secure in the waiting, and so her days are filled with purpose. Even the weary days. Even the painful days. Even the confusing days. This lady can’t help but love you because she’s so filled up with Jesus that it overflows. Loving is just a part of her. And every day is another day to be with Jesus, no matter where she is or what is happening. So even her dying days give life to others.
We’re all waiting to die to this place, even if we don’t realize it. We understand in our hearts that this is not it. No matter how great life is, there’s something more. And when life is not great at all, the waiting can be agonizing. We were made for a place we have yet to see, a purpose we have yet to realize. We are flowers in the shadowlands, yearning toward the light.
When you’re waiting, you need something to look at. What you look at will determine how you wait. My first friend, she’s looking at her long life of suffering and frustration. She’s looking at her old body. She’s looking at her boredom and her seeming lack of influence. She’s looking at what others have that she doesn’t have. And so she’s done.
My second friend is looking at Jesus.
That makes all the difference.