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Thin Space, An Angel, & Cotton Candy?

There are lots of transitions happening these days.  We celebrated our high school graduates this past weekend with meals and blessings on both campuses. In the meantime, there are hundreds of students, teachers, and administrators excited about transitioning out of the school year and into summer. Good times!

Our journey through James in our series “James: A Faith That Works” continues this weekend. Take a moment and read James 1:26-2:13 for this coming weekend, and bring a friend!


Of course, as I speak of transitions, my mom is on my mind.  She’s in the homestretch of her journey HOME in our home. Her mobility is pretty much gone. She can talk and enjoy a small bite to eat every now and then. While there is pain and discomfort, she is grateful that it is “reigned in” somewhat at this time. Many of you have had some level of exposure to someone who is in the advanced stages of cancer. It’s a bully, no doubt and the effects of it are not pleasant. And yet, there is a Shepherd with her in the valley of the shadow of death.

Mom’s room where she is staying has become a bit of a “thin space.” What I mean by this is that it’s a place where the veil between the visible and invisible realm is quite thin at times.  Here are two stories from the last few days.

The first story requires a little background. Shortly after mom’s surgery two years ago to remove the cancer and some lymph nodes, mom was recovering at our house.  She had a “vision” or “picture” in her mind in the middle of the day that repeated itself over the next few days on occasion. It was of a time in the future where she would be in our house and laying on a bed. She spoke of a “being” – the size and shape of a good-sized man – but she could only see the outline.  It was faceless and a bit light a “shadow” but not in the dark sense. She felt the being was warm and friendly.  The being was attending to her.  One of the things the being did was lean over her.  Her arm was positioned over her head as she was lying there.  It was uncomfortable. The being said to her – not verbally but she knew it in her spirit – “That looks uncomfortable, let me help you.” And the being took her arm and lowered it and placed it on her chest.  Tara and I both remember mom telling us of this repeated vision two years ago.  We took it as an application of Hebrews 1:14 – are not all angels but ministering spirits sent to serve those who’ve inherited salvation?

Anyway, early this past Sunday morning – maybe about 5:00 am, I got up to check on her.  I peeked in her room.  Her arm was stretched out over her head, lying over the pillow.  It was an odd look. It looked like an uncomfortable position.  And in that moment as I was looking, her arm suddenly lifted – it was limp, like it was being moved – and it moved down and was laid flat across her chest.  For me to be there in those few seconds and see that – well, you can imagine that I remembered the “vision” or “picture” of what she had spoken some two years earlier.

And now a second story.  It’s not about what I saw, but what we smell in her room.  Cancer has a smell that’s not pleasant -- particularly when it begins to break through the skin or the side-effects of it begin to manifest in the skin. We keep those places covered in dressings and bandages and they are on her back. I tell you this so you can appreciate what I’m about to share.  Her room smells like – well, it smells like candy.  It smells like vanilla-cinnamon cotton candy.  I’ve never had it, don’t know if it exists, but that’s the closest way I can describe it.  There’s no air freshener in her room.  There’s a fan, an oxygen tank, and no shortage of medical supplies.  Her room smells completely different than every other room in our house.  It’s the last place you’d expect to smell something sweet.

Now when Paul talked about the “aroma of Christ,” he probably wasn’t talking about it smelling like that, at least in the context of II Corinthians 2. Nevertheless, such a sweet smell in a room where the bully cancer is making itself known is a beautiful reminder that mom is far from alone.

Cancer and death are bullies. But mom has a really Big Brother (Hebrews 2:11-15).  And He’s in the room.

By the way, He’s your Big Brother, too.

See you this weekend for more of “James: A Faith That Works.”

Love and Appreciate You All So Much,

Grace and Peace,


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