Laura and I sat in the living room of her small apartment on a snowy day in early February. We’d sat there before. But it was different this time. Her husband had passed away since we’d been there last, and at the mention of his name, tears welled up in her eyes. Their home might not have looked like much compared to many of the other houses we’d visited during our time back in the U.S. But one thing was clear. This was a place where God dwelled. This was the home of a woman who’d walked and talked with the Almighty over the course of decades, in fire hotter and through water deeper and amid darkness more terrifying and over mountains higher than I’ve ever imagined. And she’s survived. Though now she must figure out a new kind of surviving, given that her husband of five decades was finally released from this world of shadows to finally stand before the unveiled Son. She gropes in the shadows, desperate for the Light of the World to rekindle her hope.
How sobering it was to wade into her sorrow with her. The depths of those moments are not for words. Mere words wouldn’t do anyway. The memory of her spirit and tear-stained face will remain with me the rest of my life.
Something struck me after leaving her apartment. We build shrines and monuments to sports stars and to famous men and women of history. We develop strict observances for how to address a king or how to behave in the presence of a person worthy of great honor. We name buildings and streets and lakes and cities after figures of both past and present and revere their memory and legacy. And we should do all those things. We should always give honor to whom honor is due. And here was a woman of God on par with those in Hebrews 11 who’d dedicated her entire life to trusting that God is both real and truly does reward those who seek his face, and it seemed like she’d been completely forgotten. She deserves the honor due a faithful servant of the Most High God, a member of his royal family, an heir of all things and co-heir with Christ. And there she was, sitting in an old armchair across the coffee table from us, serving us hot cider and opening up a portion of her soul to us—to us!—people not worthy to bend down and untie her shoes or look her in the eye or call her sister.
So are the people of God. They are largely a forgotten people. They certainly aren’t flashy. And theirs are the names that are engraved on the palm of the Creator God of the universe, names that will remain forever, forgotten in this life perhaps, not for a second forgotten by the One who brought them into being and sustains their every breath and will hold them in his omnipotent arms forever.
Oh, that I might be like this woman one day. Oh, that my faith might continue to burn like hers does even when all other lights have gone out.