When Jesus takes someone from us to Himself, it’s natural to think about the meaning of that person’s life and of its end. That is what I did two days ago, when I learned that Todd, a 16 year old boy in our church, had just died of cancer. As I tried to absorb this heavy news, my thoughts turned to my sister Ruth, who died of cancer shortly before Thanksgiving last year, not long after this young man himself was diagnosed.
After I wrote these reflections, my other sisters updated Ruth’s ministry website with some resources that Ruth left behind. One is a tool for giving witness to unbelievers who question God. The others offer practical guidance on how to minister with wisdom and love to those who are suffering physical and other kinds of adversity, and on how to cultivate a life that will withstand adversity. You can download these resources, summarized below, under the “ministry” tab at the Bright Hope website.
Rise. Above. My story of finding the Reason to overcome
This is Ruth’s personal testimony brochure, which can be downloaded or requested in multiple copies. It speaks in a way that many of us cannot, in effect allowing someone who suffered greatly to say, “I know what it is like to suffer and still trust God’s goodness.” It is a helpful approach to opening Gospel conversations with unbelievers, one that I have used myself.
“Ministering in Crisis: Forging beyond ‘Call me if you need anything’”
Practical counsel on how churches, individuals, and communities can be truly helpful in ministering to those with immediate needs or even long-term, chronic illnesses.
Preventing Spiritual breakdown when trouble comes
This is foundational teaching on forming a theology of suffering, and the spiritual disciplines that the Holy Spirit desires to be in our lives before we think that we need them. Ruth lived her theology of suffering, a theology that was forged by the Holy Spirit deeply imprinting His Word into her personal experience.
Though from our perspective Ruth and Todd’s lives were cut short, God knows the true pattern that He wove in them. Because of that, their lives and their deaths are not without purpose. Part of that purpose is our unfinished task to share God’s grace in their lives to those without hope.