April 4, 2010
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Gu SoYoung was my friend and neighbor. She was Emma’s piano teacher. She was a member of our church’s Advisory Council. She went with us to Tanzania in 2008. She was beautiful, and she loved beauty. She was an outstanding piano player, and she taught herself how to play the violin at the age of 30. She loved new foods and new experiences. She was full of joy and life. Her smile was always contagious.
In the last months of 2008, SoYoung began having stomach aches and digestive problems. In January of 2009, she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. There was nothing the doctors could do. Her health declined quickly over the next few months.
SoYoung spent the last month or so in a hospice out in the countryside on the east side of Cheonan. As we drove out to visit her, we could see the trees and fields and flowers slowly emerging with the new life of spring, and yet, each day, we also watched the life fade out of our dear friend.
SoYoung died on the morning of April 4 at about 6 a.m. Sarah and I quickly went out to the hospice to join the family. We passed the word to the church, and we held a quiet memorial service at the funeral home on Sunday night.
That was a difficult and extremely painful season for her family and for many in our church. Many of us still miss SoYoung deeply.
This winter has been one of the longest winters I can remember. Many people have said that it feels like winter will never end. The gray skies, cold weather, and snow have seemed to last forever. Just when we think they are gone, they come back again.
Our world is in a long winter of death. Death was never part of God’s plan, but it is here, and we can’t stop it for now. Sometimes, the gray skies and pains of death seem like they will last forever. Just when we think they are gone, they come back again. Someone else dies. We lose another loved one. There is another senseless killing or disease. This long winter of death seems like it will go on forever. It seems like we will never escape all of this dying and waiting for more dying.
Last week, it was still cold. I was wearing my winter coat, and I had my hands shoved into my pockets because they felt like ice. I was walking past the Owens Building, and I saw something that encouraged my heart.
I saw the first buds of spring. ...
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