In My Father's House are Many Rooms
By Diane Pearson
Kristine, a vibrant 18-year-old, was involved in all the normal activities of a senior in high school when she became critically ill. She was admitted to the hospital and within a few days, she was diagnosed with a fatal disease.
Kristine’s parents were devastated when doctors said, “There’s nothing more we can do except keep her comfortable.” They asked for help from the hospital staff to break the news to their daughter.
A woman named Donna is part of a hospital team that works with critically and terminally ill patients and their families. “When Kristine heard the prognosis, she was naturally quite upset, but when I went to see her the next day, her demeanor was completely changed," she said.
“Kristine had in her hand a collection of swatches from a paint store, those little strips of various shades of color," Donna said. "She fanned them out like a deck of cards and said, ‘Pick a color.’"
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Donna said, “but I played along. I chose a bird’s egg blue. Then Kristine explained: ‘Since I’m going to heaven before you, I want to paint your room your favorite color.’ Anytime a different person came into Kristine’s room after that, she had them choose a color for their room in heaven.”
Donna said, “I have worked with critically and terminally ill patients for years, but I was bowled over by the spiritual maturity of an 18-year-old who was so certain of her place in heaven. Kristine knew without a doubt that this world is just a ‘passing-through place.’ It’s not the final destination. She used those paint swatches as tools to witness about eternal life and also to help the people around her accept her physical death.”
Kristine was a living witness to the promise in John 14 as Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his impending death:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3 (NIV)
When Kristine passed away, she continued to witness to people at the funeral because those paint swatches were in the casket with her. Kristine’s story was repeated to everyone who passed by.
“As Christians, we have the certainty of eternal life,” said Donna. “How wonderful it was for Kristine and her family to be able to frame death in such a beautiful way.”
Thank you, Lord, for the promise of eternal life. Help us to learn from Kristine’s example of faith in your Word.
(Published in The Times, Frankfort, IN, June 28, 2008. Copyright retained by Diane Pearson.)
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Diane Pearson is a Christian writer, speaker, and teacher from Frankfort, IN. She wrote a newspaper column for ten years titled "Real-Life Devotions," true stories of God working in people's lives. This story is adapted from one in her book, God in the Midst of Grief: 101 True Stories of Comfort, © 2011, Carpenter's Son Publishing, Franklin, TN. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dianepearson.org.
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