Sometimes I lay in bed at night and think about the day’s events and just wonder if all of this is real? I have to pinch myself just to make sure that I am alive. It’s on nights like these, when my mind will just not shut off, that I reflect on how strong God made man to be.
This past Monday I had to bury my grandma. She was my last living grandparent and a woman who stole my heart while she walked this earth. We had a very special bond that I believe very few grand-kids develop with a grandparent. I never imagined living my life without her and now that she is gone, it has made each day just a little bit more empty. She lived her life as a reflection of who Jesus Christ was. She was self-less, loving and forgiving. She lived a full life into her late 80’s and fought all the way to the end. Just moments before her passing she still had the strength to make the sign of the cross as the priest prayed over her. A woman who is living life eternally with the Creator of the world, she has left a legacy behind to all those who were blessed to know her.
In the meantime, during all the events of my grandma’s passing I was thinking about and praying for a very special lady who has also made an imprint in my heart as well as thousands of other people’s lives, LIFE co-founder, wife, mother of four and friend to many – Jackie Lewis. When I heard of her worsening condition Sunday evening I fervently prayed that God would heal her. Each day that went by her condition continued to worsen and by Tuesday evening we were praying for a miracle. In those days I have never prayed so much or cried so much.
I believe Jackie’s fight brought 10’s of thousands of people closer to Christ in just a matter of days. And in her last 12 hours people literally put their life on hold to lift Jackie, the doctor’s, her family and friends in prayer in hopes that a miracle would happen. Communities around the world were consumed by her story, her fight and her faith. People who have never believed in anything started to pray and began to have faith and believe in a higher power. People who didn’t even know Jackie were crying out to God for a healing. While Jackie may not have been able to physically see the impact that her fight was making in thousands of people’s lives in those days, I am certain that as she looks down on us today she can smile and know that she is still in this world by the legacy she has left behind in people’s hearts and souls.
Isn’t it interesting how God has a timeline… or hourglass (as my friend and mentor George Guzzardo likes to say) for everyone’s life. We don’t know how much sand is left in the hourglass; but what we do know is that one day, our last grain of sand will reach the bottom and it’s what we do before that last grain falls that makes all the difference. We would all like to hope that our sand moves slower through the hourglass so that we can live a long life into our late 80’s, just as my grandma did. But that isn’t always the case. We see that in a woman who went Home to be with the Lord at 32 years old and realize that the hourglass is so unpredictable. We recognize that we have no control over the speed of the sand that falls. But what we do know is that Someone is in control of that hourglass – and it isn’t us.
Jackie lived on this earth for 32 years and while we may not understand why she was called Home so soon – we can know that she made a difference in more people’s lives than most people do who live a full life. Not only did she impact thousands of lives while she was living – she changed even more lives while she was dying. We can never claim to understand why God does the things that He does but as I reflect on all these events this past week, I can say with certainty that He does have a plan and His plan is always perfect – despite what we want to believe or the confusion we often feel as we live in this world.
I pray that everyone who has been affected by Jackie’s story uses it as a reason to live a life of significance and purpose. Very few people leave the type of legacy that Jackie has left behind but I believe we are all capable of leaving that type of legacy. God knows what He is doing. He is waiting for us leave the type of impact that Jackie did. He is waiting for His people to draw near to Him and pray like their lives depended on it. To fight for their place in Heaven by living while they are alive and being an example of Jesus’ presence in the world. That is what I know my grandma did and that is what I know Jackie did. While the grains in their hourglass were completely different, their legacy was very similar and they are both being rewarded in Heaven today for who they were when they were alive. They are celebrating today with all the angels in Heaven who did not waste their hourglass.
What a gift we have to know that Jesus Christ has saved us for all of Eternity. We don’t have to fear death. We don’t have to worry about the last grain of sand in our earthly hourglass. We can leave that in His hands. Our hourglass in Eternity with Jesus is never ending and that is the hourglass we should be striving for in this life.
Hugs and prayers to everyone who is mourning the earthly loss of Jackie Lewis, Ann Mardoian and any other angels who left this earth to be with Jesus. God gave us the strength to overcome these earthly losses and use them for His glory!
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” Psalm 119:50