Nita's Smile by Cheryce Berg

Cancer is ravaging Nita Martindale’s mortal body, but not her soul, orthat of her husband’s, Wayne. Their souls are intact—more than intact—as they rest in God’s steadfast love.

It started with a suggestion from one neighbor to another—sing to Nita said the one neighbor who is also Nita’s hospice nurse. The other neighbor, a follower of Jesus, had the inspiration to sing hymns, not only to encourage Wayne and Nita, but also to show Christ’s love to neighbors they had been praying would come to him. Out went texts, Facebook posts and emails . . .

She smiles the whole time. She smiles and sings. Her smile is alight with hope as she gazes on us from her front stoop, backlit by the warmth of her home.

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song.

We shiver and sing in the January wind, standing on the frozen grass.

This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

I glance around, surrounded by this ragtag crowd whose voices warm the cold air. Neighbors, co-laborers, pastors, friends. All united in love for her. I wonder if all standing there know the only One who can comfort.

What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all—Here in the love of Christ I stand.

Nita’s face is alive with the knowledge of her Savior and his power over sin and death.  

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For every sin on Him was laid—here in the death of Christ I live.

She knows without a doubt that she belongs to Christ, and her faith is a testimony to us as we sing. She sees victory over death on the road ahead.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grace He rose again!  And as He stands in victory, Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine—Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

She is flanked on either side by those who love her best, her husband and daughter. They hang a warm coat on her thin shoulders, wrap their arms around her and watch her closely.  They sing, too, but their lips tremble. Hers keep smiling.  

No guilt in life, no fear in death—This is the pow’r of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.

Our words swell as the power of Christ flows through them, reminding us where our hope lies. Reminding us there is nothing to fear when we belong to him. Telling us that even cancer cannot pluck us from his hand. Promising that someday he will call us home.

No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home—Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

We sing for Nita Martindale, and she smiles.