And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—PHILIPPIANS 4:7 (NIV)
When I am a chaplain caring for hospice patients, one of the most inspiring things I get to witness is the grace that falls upon those preparing to die. One such patient was Jim, a retired professional football player. He was only 50 years old when his cancer became terminal. We spent many afternoons talking about his desire not to die. He had twin sons that he desperately wanted to watch grow up.
One afternoon when I went to see him, Jim surprised me by saying, “Elizabeth, I suddenly have this deep sense of peace that everything is going to be fine.” I have seen this beautiful occurrence many times, this gift of peace that God provides—not because of begging or logical thinking—but simply through God’s grace and in God’s time.
A few days later I came back to visit Jim, and was shocked by the nurse’s update. Shortly after midnight the night before, Jim had walked to the nurses’ station and told her, “It is time to go see Jesus.” The nurse assured him that she’d be down shortly to check on him. When she went to his room 15 minutes later, Jim had passed away lying serenely on his bed.
If God can bring peace to a dying man leaving behind two young children, what other ways can God’s grace amaze me?