I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
Just a few months ago, family and friends were elated to hear that Susan’s cancer was gone, but this summer the doctors said it was back.
The family prayed, friends prayed, and countless concerned, unknown others lifted her in prayer. Susan’s healing came early in the morning, shortly after midnight, when Susan’s Friend, Savior, and Lord called her Home.
Last year I was with her family in the waiting room while she underwent surgery. I have listened to her brother describe her. I met her husband. But, I never got to meet Susan, until I made that trip to visit with her and her family during those last hours.
From everything I know about this dear lady, she was surely a woman of God. She inspired her family and everyone who knew her. I wish I could have met her in her more robust days.
That Saturday evening as her brother and I stood in the hallway outside her room in the hospice wing of the hospital, he admitted to struggling with how God would allow such a fine woman to suffer so much before eventually allowing her to die. He candidly voiced thoughts that I have had on similar occasions. We both know God is wise, loving, and does all things well, but we admit we may never understand why He does what He does. The Scripture says His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. (Is. 55:9)
Her brother and I reflected on how Susan did the very thing that our Lord taught, what I have been trying to do for nearly 37 years — make disciples. He wondered why the Lord would choose to call home one of the few who was living the way He asked us to live and doing the things He asked us to do. I agreed. Humanly, it does not make sense.
We need Susan. We need her example. We need her witness. If the world is to be reached with the gospel, we need people like her, yet there seems to be so few.
To say God loves Susan and every person who has ever lived is not a glib positive statement. He proved His love when He gave His Son to die as the sacrifice for our sin. God does not want anyone to be separated from Him. Susan knew this and did what she could to tell others of His great love.
Over the years, I have shared the gospel countless times and have seen people of all ages indicate they placed their faith in Jesus. I know the way to reach the world, the way to have the most significant impact on lostness, is to follow our Lord’s example and do more than point people to God but to make disciples who make disciples. I also know that God willing, one day I will pass the baton to a younger man after God’s heart. If I am to lead Pebble Creek Baptist Church to be a healthy maturing and multiplying body of believers, I must ask God to use me to make disciples who multiply. To do this, I need people like Susan.
In her last days, Susan continued her witness for Christ through the strength of her faith and trust in the Lord. Her legacy will not tarnish or rust but shine forever in the eyes of those whose lives were changed by Jesus through knowing her. I said goodbye to her husband, her brother, and her sister-in-law. When I left Susan’s room that Saturday night, I knew we were losing a faithful disciple who, by example alone, has passed her baton to others. I walked around the corner, got on a knee, and prayed that God would use me as He had used Susan, that I too may be found faithful to the very end.
To finish well, we need to ask God every day to empower us to live for Christ. When we grow weary and are tempted, I pray the Lord will bring Susan and others like her to mind who are no longer here to share the gospel but whose service to the Lord continues to bear fruit. The day is coming when you and I will no longer have the privilege of representing Christ on this earth. So, for Christ and for the “great crowd of witnesses,” (Heb. 12:1-3) like Susan, who have gone before may God help us to seize the day, redeem the time, and make disciples.
While I can,