I was visiting Bernice in the care center the other day. Bernice has had many health problems over the last several years, but her strong faith sustains her, and she is usually in good spirits and content to be at the care center. So I was surprised to hear her say, “You know, I can’t wait to get out of here.”
Knowing that she needs the care she receives there and would not be able to live independently, I said, “But Bernice, where will you go?”
“Well,” she said cheerfully, “to heaven of course!”
That same joyful and confident hope is expressed in the following story which is adapted from Surprise Endings, by Ron Mehl (Multnomah Publishers, 1995):
A woman caught in a frightening storm in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean had kept all the little children on board from panicking by telling them Bible stories. After finally reaching the dock safely, the ship’s captain approached the woman, whom he had observed in the midst of the tempest.
“How were you able to maintain your calm when everyone feared the ship would sink in this storm?” the captain asked. As she looked up, he noticed the same quiet peace in her eyes that she had maintained throughout the journey.
“I have two daughters,” explained the woman. “One of them lives in New York. The other lives in heaven. I knew I would be seeing one or the other of my daughters in a few hours, and it really didn’t matter to me which one.”
Isaiah 26:3-4 — You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
John 16:33 — (Jesus said), “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 14:27 — (Jesus said), “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Philippians 4:6-7 — Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Protect me, dear Lord;
My boat is so small,
And your sea is so big.
–Breton fisherman’s prayer