“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Ashleigh Reedy passed from this life to the next Monday evening, surrounded by her family, wrapped in the loving arms of her God, and made whole by the blood of her Savior.

Ashleigh’s too-fast ordeal with cancer is sad in so many ways. It’s heart-breaking. Tragic. But in countless other ways it is so marvelously beautiful. Breath-taking. Inspiring in the truly Gospel way it’s played out. The way the Body of Christ has come together to minister to the Reedy family. The loving community that has been experienced in that Franklin house in Lubbock in the name and manner of Jesus. The burdens that were shared. The great faith that has been shown by Mike and Amy, not to mention Ashleigh’s Holy Spirit strength that refused time and again to give in to the disease that was robbing her from everything we think it means to be really alive.

Realizing that Ashleigh was more alive while she was battling cancer than I am right now. Or ever have been.

Ashleigh never stopped thinking about others. Right up until that moment almost two weeks ago when her condition took that awful and irreversible turn, she was concerned about others, worried about others, ministering to others. Talking to others about the Lord. Asking questions about family and friends at church she knew were hurting. Wondering aloud if her circumstances were taking away from the joy of others. Her unwavering belief and faith in our God. Ashleigh was truly alive, really living that whole time. Thinking more about others, regarding the needs of others ahead of her own. At her sickest points, Ashleigh was more alive than most of us have ever been because she was doing what she was made by her Creator to do. Serve. Sacrifice. Look and think and act like the Christ.

Realizing Ashleigh is eternally alive right now. Forever. In the intense face-to-face presence of our God.

Ashleigh’s eyes are open now. She’s made the trip. She’s on that other side. She sees everything so clearly now. She understands it all so fully. Everything makes perfect sense to Ashleigh right now. Praise God, Ashleigh is a conqueror today. She is an overcomer. She’s an eternal daughter of our God and wearing the beautiful crown of a righteous princess. She’s there! Fully alive! Eternally alive!

Bonhoeffer wrote that “those who have died are in reality those who live, and those living on earth are the dying. The cemetery is the place of life’s victory. Here lie those who live with the Lord.”

Hug your kids today. Kiss your spouse tonight. Call your parents. Express your love. Show your appreciation. And then get down on your hands and knees and thank God for the wonderful people he’s put in your life.

Like Ashleigh. And Mike and Amy. And McKenzie. And that whole sweet family.

While you’re down there, pray for the Reedys. Pray for our merciful Father to bless them with his grace and comfort and peace.

“On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine –
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, 
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people from the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
In that day they will say,
‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him and he saved us.
This is the Lord; we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation!'”

Lord, come quickly,