Don’t give up on the life God gives

Published 9:10pm Monday, January 30, 2012

Let me share with you a parable as I reflect about the life of my baby sister, Jalaila Joi. There once was a Bagdad merchant who sent his servant to the market to pick up some goods. While the servant was shopping in the market place he found himself face to face with Death. In great fear, he returned to his master and told him of the menacing look that Death had given him. The servant informed the master that he would need a horse in order to escape to Samara, a city some distance away. The master quickly gave his servant a horse, and then went to the market place to find Death. When he found Death the master asked, “Why did you give my servant a menacing look?” Death replied, “I wasn’t looking at him menacingly, I was merely surprised to see him here in Bagdad; for you see, I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara.”

Throughout my sister’s life, she demonstrated that we cannot run from the inevitable. There is a temptation to focus on longevity, but to succumb to such temptation will rob you of the joy of life. Not once did Jalaila stop living because of the rare childhood cancer that she battled for nearly three years. She was faithful to the life that God had given her to share with the world. Despite the side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation, she looked forward to enjoying life.

I will never forget during her last days on this side when she was transported to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. You see, when Jalaila was first diagnosed, her first words were, “Satan will give up before I do.” So I know when she was being transported to PICU there were some wondering if she was giving up and losing the fight. But they couldn’t have been more wrong! Jalaila was neither anxious nor fearful. While lying in the bed she simply made a fist and gave me “knuckles.” That was her sign that she will never stop fighting. So, I have a question for you. Why have you stopped fighting to live every day that God has given to you? Tomorrow is not promised so stop running from issues and problems. Life is greater and sweeter than all of your burdens. One of Jalaila’s favorite quotes comes from the movie, Rocky V.  After being pounded, knocked to the ground, and counted out, Rocky Balboa looks up at Tommy Gunn and says, “I didn’t hear no bell.” Jalaila’s life tells us that the bell hasn’t rung so get back in there and fight.

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