The Timely Phantom's Defeat

May 20, 2008
By Emerson Brown, Valdosta, GA

The Timely Phantom’s Defeat

She was, as Psalm 1 says, a “tree firmly planted beside streams of water.” She was not a thin, weak sapling, for I never saw her faith bend in the wind, but a strong oak whose branches served as cool shade for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in their times of desperate need. Her life’s persistence reminded me of the daily ocean tides. And though I only knew her for a relatively short time, 10 years maybe, she was a woman who proved that meekness is strength, how love is the greatest of all blessings, and that faith is the victory.

As we walked into her hospital room Friday evening, her face lit up, but only for a second. She mumbled inaudibly and weakly lifted a hand as if to beckon to one standing beside me; it reminded me of her old way—she never let us kids pass by without giving her a hug. I saw comfort in her eyes as an angel-like hand brushed her head. “We love you, Mrs. Peggy,” the angel whispered. And though she could not speak, we heard her reply, “I love ya’ll too.” Oh, the comfort I saw as she closed her eyes: she knew we loved her. She knew.

Death’s silence strikes fear in many hearts—not hers. In a way, she embraced it. She knew it was time to leave her pain behind. She embraced Death’s summons because she knew that it would not win her soul. “ Death, be not proud,” a poet once wrote. Death cannot boast of triumph over a faithful soul—it was eternally defeated by a faith stronger than any fear or sin. Now, that Timely Phantom will no longer reach for her hand, for she will be in a place where it has no sting, no thorns, no power, and no victory.

Her family and friends loved her dearly, yet it seems as though they—even her very children and grandchildren—have already forgotten the godly example she set for them. But I will never forget.

We should not mourn, for who can weep when the angels are joyously singing and carrying a weary soul home? We may just see her again one day, and share with her the triumph over sin and darkness as we eat together the fruit of the Tree of Life.

Dedicated, with love, to the sweet memory of
Mrs. Peggy Israel’s faithful life.
Mother’s Day weekend, 2008

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