When I first met her, she was a little girl. I still remember her innocent blue eyes as a child. I watched her grow through childhood and into her teen years. When she was a young adult, she was lured down painful and destructive paths refusing to heed the warnings of those who loved her. I prayed for her, along with others and she fell deeper into addiction to drugs and alcohol. She gave her first born up for adoption and eventually served a sentence in prison.
But somewhere along the way, whether in prison or afterward, she came to faith in Jesus Christ. Like the woman who pressed through the crowd, she touched the hem of His garment. As Jesus said to another woman so many years ago, He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole.”
In the last decade I saw her reunited with her first-born whom she gave up in her youth. She was reconciled with her family who surrounded her in love. God brought a good man into her life who, like her, was a recovering alcoholic.
She often shared with me her testimony of faith and what God had done in her life. She still wasn’t perfect. She still had issues. But she was different. God was healing her on the inside.
The week before she died, we visited. Family and friends gathered around her, comforting her, praying for her and loving her. On Wednesday of that week, she drew her last breath.
Once again, I thought of her as that innocent blue-eyed girl I first knew. It reminded me of Jesus’ visit to the home of a mother and father whose twelve-year-old daughter had died. The house was surrounded by people who were weeping. But Jesus entered the child’s bedroom with her parents and spoke these gentle words to her. “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” She immediately breathed, opened her eyes and got up.
This is the faith we believe as followers of Christ. We make mistakes. We may wander far from God. We may cause pain to ourselves and others. But He seeks us out. He never lets us go. He reconciles, redeems and, in the day of our death, He raises us up!