This summer some young women from my Bible study decided to make the long drive to visit our classmate— a woman who had recently moved out of the county to an assisted living home to be by her daughter. Her health had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer take care of her home or herself. She had been with my small group for many years, and she will be sorely missed when we start up in the fall.
We were met with a flood of thankful tears when we arrived. Agnes’ new home was small but decorated with the things she cherished most. Family pictures were hung on the walls, as were a large cross and several plaques with Bible verses that were particularly meaningful to her. On her kitchen table was a large print Bible. I noticed a magnifying glass nearby, along with a pad of paper that was labeled “prayer requests.”
After our tour of her new place, Agnes told us the details of her health condition, a recent fall, and the need for her walker now. At lunch, and after she was updated on all our personal news, Agnes asked how she could pray for each of us. She commented that she saw prayer as her only remaining purpose in living. Her body was slowing down, but her prayer life was expanding as she met the people in her new home. Still, she told us change was hard.
I first met Agnes (name has been changed) when I randomly sat next to her in a fellowship hall more than ten years ago. She was in her 80’s then and told me this was her fourth time through the Bible series. Clearly, she had trouble seeing the text and hearing our lesson, so I asked her why she wanted to repeat the study again. I will never forget her answer. She said she wanted to be well prepared for when she saw Jesus.
So, Agnes has been seriously preparing to see Jesus for over a decade. I suspect the time is even longer. Her end-of-life plans are inspirational for me. They left an equally serious impression on the young women in our group. Agnes certainly had a lot of prayer needs herself. Over the time I have known her, she has cared for a husband with dementia, buried both her husband and a son, and watched as grandchildren made some unwise decisions. But always she is the first to ask for everyone else’s prayer requests. She takes notes and follows up with texts and phone calls. Every member of our class has been touched by her prayers on our behalf.
Our lunch outing got me thinking about how prepared I am to see Jesus face to face. It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that I must admit my prayer life is not as vital as I would like it to be. I don’t always keep a list of those I promise to pray for, and unless they are near to me, my follow-up is minimal. Agnes had other purposes fulfilled on that day, even if she did not recognize them. We each witnessed her steadfastness. We saw a woman who modeled how to finish well. A good and faithful servant of the Lord reminded us that we need to be prepared to see Jesus. We need to know the Word so that we know how to glorify God in our actions. We need to have robust prayer lives so that we can be conduits for God’s work in men. We need to use every day as the gift it is, regardless of the condition of our bodies, our surroundings, or our circumstances, so that our days may be honoring to the Lord.
Moses, in his prayer for wisdom in view of the brevity of time, emphasizes we are to be prepared for the moments and days He has given us. “So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).” And Matthew 24:44 reminds us that we are to be prepared both to die and for the second coming of Jesus, for only God knows the time for either. “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Lord, thank you for sending all the Agneses into our lives who are examples of both how to live and how to prepare to die. Thank you for praying women who are doing the good things that you have planned for them long ago. Thank you for those who have come before us and are steadfast in their faith in spite of weary bodies. I pray that I will be well prepared when I see my Savior face to face.
About the Author:
Sharon is recently retired from a career first as a chemist and then as a regulatory affairs consultant to the medical device industry. She has served on the women’s ministry team at Grace Presbyterian Church in her hometown of Yorba Linda, California, and has worked as the west coast regional advisor for the PCA. Her husband, two married daughters and two married sons are all engineers, who provide interesting technical conversations for a dinner table. Sharon is working on completing her bucket list which includes raising orchids, attending culinary school, bird watching and traveling. She has three young granddaughters and one grandson who she and her husband hope to meet as soon as the pandemic allows travel.