While you were probably sleeping…

Yesterday night, while you were probably sleeping, my mother-in-law slipped quietly out of life and into Death’s arms.

Death, for Cheryl, came gradually. We had some time to prepare for him. About two months. Unwanted, he sort of quietly crept over Cheryl, gaining momentum as the weeks went on. He wasn’t an obvious character in the room, but occasionally, he gave us intimations that he was indeed there. Waiting.

I don’t think he knew when he would be allowed to take her, but he seemed patient to wait. The doctors and nurses and therapists worked hard against Death. Cheryl, too, fought alongside. We prayed against him. Thousands prayed against him. But he kept coming. And ultimately, he was allowed to take her from us.

That’s what I saw, the other night. I rushed into the hospital room to see a beautiful woman, enveloped in Death’s horrible intruding arms. My brain screamed, NO! She wasn’t yours to take. You had no right! This is not right! Death disregarded my screams. He smugly took no notice of me or the others in the room. He had what he came for.

But then, in that very awful moment when Death took her. The moment he was finally allowed to snuff out the life she had with us. Something miraculous happened. Something I couldn’t see, but sensed. In that very instant when Cheryl seemed consumed with Death, Victory exploded within her.

Although unseen, Victory had always been there, given to Cheryl by Christ. Less obvious than Death, Victory, too, had patiently waited his turn. And when finally released, he burst forth within her, swallowing Death completely.

Cheryl now holds Victory’s powerful hand. Her encounter with Death has been completely forgotten. Death no longer has power over her. She is changed. She is imperishable. She is dressed in radiant immortality. She has inherited the kingdom of God.

All while you were probably sleeping.


O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

1 Corinthians 15:55

 For further reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58


Filed under Spiritual thoughts

7 responses to “While you were probably sleeping…

  1. Nygas Family

    Dear Friends, we pray for you and Toby’s mom. May Lord give you strength at this moment of sorrow and some day you will rejoin her in eternal happiness.

  2. Ginny

    Beautiful, Rachel. God be with you all.

  3. Elizabeth Svoysky

    Dear Rachel and Toby: please know that Vladimir and I have your family in our thoughts and prayers and are sending our love your way



  4. Walt

    Death is indeed swallowed up in Victory. Its sting is gone and its so-called power never materialized! Thank you, Rachel, for giving witness to the faith that is sustaining you and the family and the same faith that sustained Cheryl. As I read your words, I was reminded of a verse from the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem:”

    How silently, how silently,
    The wondrous gift is given;
    So God imparts to human hearts
    The blessings of his heaven.
    No ear may hear his coming,
    But in this world of sin,
    Where meek souls will receive him, still
    The dear Christ enters in.

    Love you!

  5. Alice Stroshine

    Thank you for these insightful and touching words. I am grieving with you. May God watch over you and your entire family now and always.

  6. susan schoenfuhs

    A resounding AMEN! God is so very good. Thank you for so beautifully expressing the hope we all have in our salvation!


  7. Sarah

    I have never read anything quite like this about death. I have read a lot about death. C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed and Peace Pilgrim’s writing about the transformation are closest. Death is not natural or desirable. Death is horrid and dreadful and unfair. Only a supernatural transition to the afterlife in the hands of a trusted eternal friend can heal the tremendous terror of losing a beloved member of the family. Jesus went before to catch us. But there is nothing easy or beautiful about letting go. Thank you for writing this.

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