Fear or faith
Worry or Trust
The physical or the spiritual
This is what Andrea faced every moment of every day for 4 yrs and 4 months.
This is what we face today. I’m not saying there is no grief in Andrea’s passing, that to feel the pain is somehow wrong. The grief we feel is a reflection of the love we had for Andrea. It is a God given emotion in response to a God given love. As our old pastor used to say, “Don’t hear what I’m not saying.”
All I want to say today you and to myself is as difficult as this day is, and the days that lay ahead for me and the boys, we have to remember to look at the other side of the coin. The side Andrea lived by. It was her witness to us. It is how she carried her cross.
This is how Andrea faced this trial; it is how she lived her life. She loved God so deeply there was nothing she would not do for Him, even suffer cancer.
Nic reminded me of something Andrea told us when she was first told she had cancer. She said “I don’t want to die but if God could use my death to help us (our kids) understand how much God loved us or help us grow in our relationship with Him she was willing to die”. She always believed she would be healed but she accepted the reality of her death. She did not see death as a negative because she knew God would use whatever happened for His glory, and therefore she was not afraid.
There is nothing she would not do for any of us. That is why she suffered in silence. Yet all the time she was helping us shoulder our own burden. Those who were blessed enough to sit with Andrea in the chemo room witnessed this. Not only did she carry her cross by faith, she also had the faith to reach out to us. It was opposite of what you would expect. So many came to Andrea with the intention of helping her face this cancer, and left realizing it was Andrea who had them.
As she laid in the ICU for 22 days, her concern was for us. It was why she told me to be strong when I took her to the ER. It was why she waited on the edge of the bed for me to come to terms with taking her to the hospital. I have no doubt when I walked out, she prayed for my faith and my strength. She needed me to fall back on my faith, to be strong. I think she knew I would be okay, as if she saw that moment as a final exam in my class titled faith. One day I was struggling with my faith and Andrea said to me “One day Jim you have to have your own faith, if your faith is wrapped up in me what will you do when this is over?”
She was always drawing us into a deeper relationship with God, and she willingly laid down her life to do it. There was nothing she would not do to make me a more Godly man, father, and husband.
She felt the same about everyone she met. No matter where you were in your walk with God. When I would read her the emails of how people were praying and their accounts of how Andrea had changed their lives, she would smile and nod, yes, yes. As if to say, yes this is worth it. In your lives she saw purpose in dieing. When Christ came to her and asked, “Andrea how much do you love me?”
She said, “With all my heart, with all my soul with all my strength, and with all my mind.”
He said, “Will you stretch out your arms for me?”
Without hesitation Andrea said, “Yes Lord, though my desire is to see my children’s children, thy will be done.”
That is what we witnessed these past four years. A life laid down, in faith and we all benefited from her sacrifice.
I want you to know Andrea carried her cross by faith. Her example is one of Christ’s love. Not a love judged by what she gained on earth, but a loved measured by what she has now. A love we were all blessed to witness. A love when understood not in the physical but in the spiritual draws us into thanks and praise to a loving God for having chosen us to be a witness to Andrea’s life. God loved Andrea in her death as much as He did in her life.
A love that helps us right now when we face our grief and our loss. How do we respond to a life taken far to early in human terms? A life of such faith seemingly unfairly taken. How do we respond? We choose to see life and death from an eternal perspective, form God’s view point, and in doing so we see the other side of the coin. The side that reminds us where what is really important in life. That was Andrea’s example to us, two sides of a coin, 2 choices, the physical or the spiritual the flesh or faith. Andrea faced every day with reminders of her battle, yet she chose to see her life and death in terms of God’s promises. Promises that are not about making her life on earth comfortable or easy that fade in value but in terms of eternity. For her faithfulness she entered the presence of her savior at 1:07 on Dec 17th 2007. In that instance time no longer existed for Andrea, and on her head was placed a crown of glory whose value far exceeded anything of this life we fought for over the past four yrs and four months. In that moment Andrea’s choice to see the other side of the coin was rewarded.
I will close with another entry from Andrea’s prayer journal written on Aug 19th 2005
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life.
Lord, you’ve taught me how to live and I choose you. And by choosing you I choose life. I love you and worship you. I believe, I choose life. I love you, Andrea.