My friend’s mom died the other day.

Katie Berg suffered cruelly for six harrowing years under the withering stranglehold of MSA (Multiple Systems Atrophy), an incurable disease that slowly takes out, well, everything your body can even think of doing. Near the end, totally immobile by this time, the systemic breakdown accelerated. One day a nurse took her readings and exclaimed, “Katie, what happened? You were doing so good two hours ago!”

To which this woman of God explained haltingly, “I’m going home.”

When Sam called a few days later to tell me she’d finally been released from her suffering, I physically ached and then cried. Not for her, but for him. And then, inexplicably, I began to prepare for what I was going to say at her funeral. I could “see it” in my mind’s eye, clear as day.

Which was weird, because I live two provinces away and I wasn’t planning on going to the funeral. Nor could we afford it. But my thoughts kept migrating to what I was going to say. I was going to talk about heaven. Which was stupid, because I wasn’t going.

Or was I?

A day later Shauna’s phone beeped, spitting out a text message from Trish, Sam’s wife: “What’s Brad doing this Thursday and Friday?”

I immediately knew what I should have known before: I was going to the funeral. We tapped out a few more messages back and forth, eventually speaking on the phone. Sam graciously used some AirMiles to pay for my plane ticket and asked me if I’d mind sharing some words of encouragement and lead the memorial service for the family the night before the funeral.

Which God had already tapped me about earlier.
Which meant that I hadn’t been invited, I’d been sent.
Which gave me a real peace and focus. A confidence that God wanted to give the family something through me. Hugs, helping hands, prayers, words—”Whatever you want, God,” I prayed earnestly.

I was so honoured to be there. We moved to Calgary from Winkler (Sam and Trish’s hometown) four and a half years ago, and still, four and a half years later, Sam wanted me at his side at his mom’s funeral. What a gift he gave to me by asking! It was such a blessing to pour myself out for this family, these friends who have become OUR family because they’re so dear to us: Sam, Trish, their three beautiful girls. Thanks, God, for sending me.

And thank you for taking Katie home. Say hello for me, will you?