The hospital reeked of disinfectant, alcohol, and some musty smell I couldn’t identify. The prognosis wasn’t good. My ninety-year-old grandmother wouldn’t be on the earth much longer. 

I stepped into the room, and my gaze fell on the old woman lying helplessly in the bed. The sides were up, surrounding her like jail bars. She lay on her side, one arm over her frail body and wrinkled fingers gripped the railing. Her white hair, once a rich brown, fell loosely around her head in disarray.  

“Grandma,” I whispered. 

No response. Grandma could no longer hear me and death was no doubt immanent. I wanted to cry at the hopelessness of the situation. I sat in the nearby chair and tried to pray. But then remembrance dawned, and I envisioned Grandma as a thirty-year-old. Alive and filled with the Lord’s joy. How quickly, it seemed, that had changed.

I closed my eyes and an image filled my mind. Again, Grandma lay in the bed, thin and full of years. But another visitor sat by her side. A man in a long white robe and dark beard looked at her, his eyes brimming with love, and he smiled. Jesus. My spirit leaped with joy. He reached toward Grandma and stroked her arm, whispering loving words to her.

So, this was the way it is. Though Grandma neared her last days in this sinful world, she was at the cusp of eternity and would always experience joy.

“Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you. I have done it, and I will carry you. And I will bear you and I will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:4 

Dear Lord, thank You for the assurance of eternal life. Please help me to keep this perspective when I see death and dying all around. Help me to receive continual hope when I observe each gray hair on my head, and the years pile up. Amen.

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