Spending time in NY with our daughter and her family, along with walking alongside my dearest friend as she mends from the loss of her husband has challenged me beyond what I could have imagined.
The day the plane pulled in, my mother was in the hospital. She came home the next day. The day before I left, my dad went into the hospital for a few hours and now both my parents are in different hospitals. One has pneumonia, the other fluid in the lungs that was going to the heart. Last nite I dreamed about my mom and saw her in the coffin and the reality of death has slapped me in the face again...and yet:
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1 Cor. 15:55-56 (KJV)
1 Cor. 15:55-56 (KJV)
It's true that death is man's greatest enemy. It robs us of the opportunity to say that last word, admit we were wrong or encourage one last time.
Yet, Jesus has taken the sting of death away. He did it for us...he said the last word-'It is finished'...He righted what was wrong with all of us by His own blood and now we have only one thing left to do-admit we have been wrong and are a sinner and receive this wonderful gift-eternal-everlasting life-whether we 'think' we're worthy or not. And the most amazing thing is that once we do that, death is only a 'turning of the page' in eternity for us.
While there, I observed many people with serious life circumstances and honestly, it was extremely frustrating. I wanted to make it all better for everybody that shared their story with me, but I know that's impossible. Jesus is the only solution to their struggles and just like I had to hang onto the Rock when the winds and waves beat against my house, they, too, will discover whether their own life is built on that same Rock or shifting sand.
...and one day, we all will stand before the One to whom we will give an account.
After spending time with my sister that shared her greatest grief of giving account for her failures as a wife before our Father, I am challenged not to waste time, to give more, to see things through the eyes of eternity...
Seeing my parents coming to a season where the alleyway to their eternity is nearing, I am challenged to pray for them more and though I long to be near them, I have taken up my cross and chosen to follow Him who promised me He'd care for them. I am so grateful I was able to see and touch them one more time.
I see this experience as Peter Marshall saw it when he said,
"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure."