As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion.” Romans 11:26
Yesterday, my old friend and college roommate, Sandee Lee lost her battle with cancer—or did she win it? While everyone who knew this joyful, vivacious, encouraging, amazingly gifted sanguine is grieving her absence, we know that this is not the end but the beginning.
This morning, before I received the news that my friend had passed away, I had texted my husband to confirm he was going to meet me at One O’clock at the funeral service of a dear lady who had attended a church we pastored several years ago. I then did my daily Bible reading which happened to be in Hosea. Of all that I read this morning, this verse stuck out to me.
“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” Hosea 13:14
I don’t remember ever reading this in the Old Testament before but I am very familiar with a similar passage in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57. I now realize Paul was referring to this Old Testament verse. I was so moved by the verse, that I copied and pasted it into my journal.
I was moved for several reasons. One being the loss of our friend whose funeral we would attend later this day. Another was my struggle of what to write in the Christmas card I had recently delivered with cookies to my neighbor who lost her husband a few months earlier. And finally because around this holiday season every year, my own grief reemerges over the loss of my own parents.
The word “deliver” stood out to me and reminded me of all the Old Testament prophecies that said a deliverer would come. (Isaiah 59:20) Just like these other Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled that night in Bethlehem–that He would be born of a virgin, (Isaiah 7:14) that He would come from the tribe of Judah, (Genesis 49:10) and that He would be born in Bethlehem, (Micah 5:2) a deliverer did come!
And one of the many things from which he delivered us is the power and destruction of death! Sandee Lee did not lose the battle of cancer, she won it! She has just left the land of the dying and entered into the land of the living!
I thank you for preparing me this morning with your Word for the heartbreaking news about my dear friend, Sandee Lee. I pray for the Lee and Zschomler families and all those who are grieving the loss of loved ones during this Christmas Season. Turn their ashes into beauty, give them the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for their spirit of heaviness. (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-20) We thank you Lord that you came to deliver us from so many things, one of them being death. LH
December 18, 1962–December 14, 2014