My sister shared with me a prayer that Mother wrote in one of her journals one New Year's Eve: "On this last day of 1985, I thank you, Lord, for caring for me, loving me, and leading me through this year of 1985. Many times I have complained, I had so many 'whys,' but you understand and are a loving and forgiving God. I cannot live without you and surely want you by my side when I leave this world. How many days or years do I have left? Only you know.
"I am ready, and my prayer is that you might take me home before I become a burden to my family or society." Five years later, this woman, who was a charge nurse until she was nearly 77, had dementia and couldn't remember whether we had visited or not. She became like a child, a pleasant and peaceful child. Her death, however, was the celebration of a life turned over to her Lord.
Paul wrote to his friends while in prison, "The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I proclaim this promise at the close of nearly every sermon, but I learned what Paul meant from my mother: We wait with a sure and certain hope.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NRSV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.