Well done, good and faithful Amelia
If you’ve ever heard me talk about how the gospel fuels perseverance in suffering, you’ve probably heard me tell the story of my friends, Steve and Jen, and their daughter, Amelia. I’ve written about Amelia three times on this blog (here, here, and here), and shared her story in a couple of my sermons (here and here).
Amelia is now with Jesus. She completed her race last week. And what a race she ran. She was an inspiration of courage and love to everyone who met her. And her parents have taught me more about the power of Christ to hold us through suffering than anyone I’ve ever known.
They have also taught me about hope. Hope in Christ. Hope in God’s new creation. It’s a lesson we’ve learned in our own loss and heartbreak, and one that everyone must learn as we live out our days in a fallen world. This world is not the way it’s supposed to be. Suffering was not part of the design. Our world is broken through ages of rebellion against God, and that brokenness shows itself in all sorts of ways, including disability and death. And yet Christ broke the power of sin and promises a new creation when he returns—a new creation where everything sad will come untrue. Where sin, sickness, and death will be no more, and all who belong to Christ will enjoy the unmediated presence of God forever. A new creation that has already broken into this fallen world and is changing lives like Steve and Jen, and like mine. This is the hope of Christ. Through his resurrection, we have hope that death does not get the final word. Jesus does.
This past week Steve shared these reflections about his daughter (June 26):
Amelia is beauty seen but her body betrays her. The imprint of God dances upon her face as the sun peaks over the ash tree to the north. Consider the lilies- how they are dressed with a touch of creative genius . . . And now, see this face, this doll- with wires and tubes- surrounded by machines and monitors where one fixates on numbers that flux and buttons that flash-demanding to be coddled. . . See this face- for in it one sees heaven kiss earth- one sees a warrior following in the steps of her king Jesus- she is clothed in more glorious splendor than lilies and grass and birds.
See this face- feel the heart skip a beat and grieve at loss but in a deeper joy knowing that this face- this doll with wires and tubes- leaves an indelible mark of glory on any life she touches. For upon this face- the imprint of God dances, the love of God grips, the grace of God reminds us that Amelia’s best days, our best days, will be seated at the banqueting table where we are face to face with Jesus- God Himself- who warriored on earth to heal all things completely.
This is hope. This is courage. This is love.
As I was reading through the condolences on Facebook a couple days ago, one of them struck me as particularly appropriate: “Well done, good and faithful Amelia.” Well done, indeed. To God be the glory.