By Esi Mathis
I had just cheerfully entered my dentist’s office for more extensive repair work. It started like the other dental visits. But this time, as I hoped, while Mercedes, his dental assistant prepared me for the work, Dr. Azarbal asked about the source of my joy and positive demeanor. I had only been a patient for a few months, and he and his staff seemed perplexed that my disposition was consistently favorable and upbeat – not that of the typical dental patient.
“Doc”’ often commented to his assistants that I meditate while he works on my teeth. Mostly, I pray, focus on scripture verses or sing to myself, to divert my attention away from discomfort and the dreaded drill.
“You always seem to be in a good mood – how do you manage that?” he asked.
Anxiously anticipating the opportunity to share my testimony, I responded instantly, “I don’t have any bad days, because every day is a gift from God to me. I am a bona fide miracle. Less than two years ago, I was dying after a brain aneurysm. By God’s grace, I survived brain surgery, my memory has been restored, and my healing is nothing short of miraculous!”
As I completed my statement, Mercedes’ swift retort pierced my heart, pinning me to the chair. “My Mom didn’t make it.”
Her words, so matter-of-fact, stunned me into momentary silence.
Certainly I could not expect her to share my joy, but I sensed the Lord wanted me to connect with her sorrow.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
“Oh Lord, I thought, what can I say to her?” Taking a few deep breaths, I turned my face to meet her eyes and asked, “Can you talk about what happened?”
My own gratitude and enthusiasm on hold for a moment, I listened as she spoke easily and freely, recalling the events of her mom’s last hours, following a brain aneurysm. I marveled at the calmness of her voice as she shared that her mother’s friend was present when her mother collapsed, yet panic paralyzed her, delaying a lifesaving 911 call. It had been seven years since she lost her mom, her best friend.
“I am so very sorry; this has to be extremely difficult for you,” I offered. Then I asked if she had been able to open her heart to release forgiveness to her mother’s friend.
After a pause, she stated, “I was angry with her for many years because she wasted precious time calling family members when she should have called the paramedics…but I have forgiven her.”
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you..” Matthew 6:14
Hers was not the first incident shared with me about a family member who succumbed to the very affliction that I had survived. Yet, each story amazed me, further confirming the unexplainable sovereign move of God. The more stories I heard – Felicia’s younger brother, Diane’s mother, Cynthia’s older brother, Mildred’s sister, a 17 year-old student, and many others – the more awed I became of God’s bountiful grace to me. While I have no answers for why so many lost loved ones, I can encourage them to do the difficult, yet necessary, healing work of forgiving.
Lord, losing a loved one is one of the most difficult, painful experiences to understand. Sometimes that pain has caused me anger as I searched for answers. When I am honest, I realize I am most angry at you for not healing them. Help me to trust your sovereign wisdom, releasing all bitterness and unforgiveness. Lord, help me to rejoice with others whom you choose to heal. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Esi Mathis. Used by permission.
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Esi Mathis is a Certified Christian Life Coach, Freelance Writer, Speaker, Certified Personalities Trainer, women’s retreat leader and ordained minister. Her mission is to help people discover their God-given gifts and use them to live more abundantly. She is the author of He Still Speaks Poetically. Esi is a Florida native who currently lives in southern California. Connect with Esi on her website at www.esimathis.com. Send Esi your comments.
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