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Lenten Devotional – Day 36 – Sitting with Suffering

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:55

55 “Death, where is the victory you thought you had?
    Death, where is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14)

In a rural parish, I got a call from a mother one night to come and visit her home. Her grown son had an inoperable brain tumor. He was growing blind.  His cancer was causing him to act violently.

I went and sat calmly with the man and continued to sit and be present with him until he grew peaceful. After that, his mother would call me each time he had a seizure. And I would sit with him until he grew peaceful. This continued until he died.

In the midst of that suffering, there was one unique season of healing. The young man wrote personal letters to a number of people who were important to him. He asked me to deliver the sealed envelopes. I later heard from many of the recipients how the letters expressed love, asked forgiveness, and offered comfort.

1 Corinthians 15:55 –  “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

In the midst of that suffering, there was one unique season of healing. The young man wrote personal letters to a number of people who were important to him. He asked me to deliver the sealed envelopes. I later heard from many of the recipients how the letters expressed love, asked forgiveness, and offered comfort.

After the young man’s death, his mother often told me how much she loved me. She would grab me, hug me, and cry whenever she saw me.  The young man turned his time of suffering into an opportunity for sharing reconciliation and hope. The visit of a pastor reminded mother and son that
the scarred but risen Lord was present with them. Death finally gave way to healing peace.

Prayer: Loving God, we pray for courage to face suffering and faith to overcome it.

  – Norman Tippens – Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

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