I am convinced that neither death nor life neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor any thing else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.
Three years ago, my dear friend, Laura, whom I had taught with at the university, died of cancer.
She had been treated for cancer several years before and then it returned. She chose not to have surgery or chemo because she believed that God was indeed calling her home.
In the days just prior to her death we had some wonderful visits in the hospital. There she had reconciled that death was coming soon and she was preparing for it in a faith filled and loving way. She had asked her pastor and me to preside at her funeral, and we discussed what hymns she would the like the congregation to sing, and the scriptures she would like read. She was not apprehensive about dying, and faced it with a welcome heart knowing that even death could not separate her from the love of God. The only thing she was a bit sad about was leaving her animals.
When death came she was filled with peace as she closed her eyes and breathed her last breaths.
About two weeks after the funeral a got a phone call from her nephew who was taking care of her estate. He asked if I could take one of her dogs. She had five dogs, two small ones in the house, and three large ones who lived outside and protected some of the other animals she had in the barn. I told him that I could probably take one of the smaller inside dogs, but he explained that some of her other friends had already adopted them. I agreed to go out to her farm and look at the three large dogs and determine whether I would be able to handle one of them.
When I went to meet the three big guys they remembered me and greeted me with enthusiasm. Two of them were brother and sister German Shepherds and very active. I knew immediately that I did not have the energy to keep up with them and their eagerness to run and play.
The third dog was a mixed breed, with a very calm and laid back nature. She and I hit it off instantly. I asked her name and Laura’s nephew said it was Ramona. I was rather shocked that Laura would name a dog Ramona, it just did not sound like a canine title, but I would never change her name. I loaded Ramona up in my car and brought her home with me, and we became inseparable friends.
Ramona is with me wherever I go. If I am in the kitchen, she lays down in the doorway to the dining room where she can keep her eyes on me but not be underfoot while I an cooking. If I am in my office she is right beside my desk, or in the den she is right beside my chair. She sleeps on her own bed at the foot of my bed. She is my constant companion.
When I look at her moving around with me to be beside me wherever I am, I think about Jesus.
Like Ramona, Jesus sticks to us like glue. There is nothing and no one who is able to separate us from His love. He is faithful in all situations of our lives no matter what happens to us and no matter where we are. Jesus is with us wherever we are, and in whatever we are going through he is there to walk beside us and reassure us. His loving presence brings comfort to my soul.
- Is there something or someone who reminds you of God’s loving presence all the time?
- Is there some way that you can be God’s loving presence for others when they are going through some very difficult times of their lives, or just any time?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.