A new(er) member at Riverview passed away yesterday. Lu Mendez died on Tuesday of what am told was liver cancer that spread rapidly and devastatingly throughout the rest of her body. I'm also told that this was not Lu's only battle with cancer. I understand that she had dealt with it previously as well, overcoming it at the time. This time, before she had manifested any symptoms, the cancer had ravaged her body.
A couple of weeks ago in the Sunday School class that I teach, we talked about God's sovereignty over time. Several Bible stories helped the kids understand that nothing happens by accident, nor is it a coincidence that two things come together just perfectly at the right time. God has control over time, and he causes people and events to do things and happen at just the right times. God is never late, nor is he ever early. He is exactly when he wants to be.
Consider the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch from Acts 8. Imagine all of the things God was doing in the lives of each of those men, the people around them, and their physical circumstances to get them to meet up at just the right time. A few minutes off here or there, and the Ethiopian's caravan would have passed Philip by. But no, because the Ethiopian was chosen by God, God had all the details worked out, down to the second. Philip saw the caravan, stopped the Ethiopian, who just so happened to be reading from Isaiah 53 (which is all about Jesus), so Philip could explain the gospel to him. And more than that, they were near water so the Ethiopian could be baptized. God's timing is perfect.
The Bible says that Jesus came at just the right time to die for the ungodly. Not an approximate date; not an estimation, but the right time. What made when Jesus came and died "the right time?" That's a topic for another post. For now, all we need to know and trust is that God is sovereign over time.
What does all this have to do with Lu Mendez? Well, Lu became a believer just a little over a year ago. I'm not sure how old she was exactly, but she was probably in her 50's or 60's. During Lu's first battle with cancer, I'm sure that it had the potential to take her life. But God saw that Lu was not ready to die yet. His perfect timing extended her life so she could hear and believe the gospel. And then, a little after a year when she came to repent and believe the gospel, Lu was taken home to be with Jesus. Coincidence? I think not. In fact, the last time Pastor Wick visited Lu in the hospital, she asked if it would be OK if she prayed that God would take her home, which he quickly affirmed. Here was a saint who knew God's timing, as he spared her from the first bout with cancer so he could save her and then take her home. What a great and glorious God we have!
Praise God for his perfect timing, and for the testimony of his grace in the life of Lu Mendez.