She never wanted to consider life after death, but now cancer has brought her to the very edge of time. The deeply moving story of Betty.
Hannah, a sister in the faith, called: “Ariel, my friend Betty is in the hospital. It looks like she might not have much time left at all, but she’s agreed to receive prayer. Can you come?” How could I not?
Hannah and Betty had known each other as colleagues and friends for over 30 years, both of them teaching English at a school in northern Israel. Betty first came to Israel from the US at age 17 and immigrated here a few years later.
She was married with three daughters and a stable life, but one day everything was turned upside down: She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
But she fought it bravely, never complaining. Typical of her dry sense of humor, she would always say, “Life is hard, and then we die.”
After several years of treatments, it appeared the cancer was gone. But then it reappeared in her bones, and started spreading all around her body. Her health was deteriorating fast.
Before Hannah and I went into Betty’s room in the hospital, we stopped in the staircase to pray together and asked God to fill the room with His sweet presence and to reveal Himself to Betty.
After getting to know her some, I said, “We want to pray for your healing and we believe God can heal you. But there’s something even more important than that: God loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him.”
We shared the Gospel with her, reading through passages in theTanakh (Old Testament). She asked some really good questions. But the question that she’d struggled with for a long time was: “How could God as a Father kill his own Son?”
We explained how God sending His Son Jesus, Yeshua, to die was actually the most beautiful and perfect expression of sacrificial love. Only through His death could we receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He did it for her and for the world!
She responded quite positively to all this, so I asked, “Would you like to receive forgiveness of your sins?” She said “Yes.”.
Then I said, “It’s important to understand that it’s not just about praying a prayer, but actually making a commitment to live for Yeshua, the One who died for you and rose again, for the rest of your life. Are you ready to do that?” She said in that case, she would have to think about this more.
A few months later, she invited us to visit her in her home. She was feeling somewhat better but still had cancer. She started asking about Isaiah 53, so we read through the chapter together and she understood that it is indeed about Jesus, Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.
After sharing our testimonies and talking about Zechariah 12:10-13:1 with her, I said, “Betty, I believe God wants to cleanse you today of your sin. And it will happen when you look on Him whom we pierced, Yeshua, and repent of your sins.” She was visibly touched.
We asked her if she was ready to make a commitment to follow Jesus, Yeshua now. But she again replied, “I’ll have to read and think about this more.”
I usually don’t pressure people to make decisions like this, but I felt the Holy Spirit stirred me to say, “Betty, you already have all the information you need. You’ve seen Yeshua through Hannah’s life for 30 years, you’ve seen Him in Isaiah 53, you’ve had all your questions answered. Yeshua wants to save you today. What will you say to Him?”
Hannah and I looked at each other and waited expectantly to see what Betty would say. It was a moment that seemed to last for eternity.
Then Betty looked up and said, “You know what…yes, yes!” Praise God! We sensed the joy of all heaven: A new child was born into the Kingdom! It was one of the most exciting and precious moments ever.
Hannah met with her every week for discipleship for some time. Then Betty became so weak that she couldn’t meet regularly, but still told Hannah, “Don’t think that I’m not reading the Bible, though!”
Betty reached the point where she couldn’t eat or move anymore. Recently, after a Friday evening dinner with her homegroup, Hannah came full of the Spirit to visit Betty one last time.
“Be at peace,” Hannah told her, “God has forgiven you of all your sins.” Betty’s body moved at that moment, signaling that she agreed.
“Yeshua’s waiting on the other side to take you to stand before God. I’m praying for the most beautiful and powerful angels to come. They’re coming now to take you home into the arms of your Father.”
Hannah prayed the Aaronic Benediction and the Sh’ma over her, gave her a kiss, and parted with her dear friend with these words: “Good-bye, Betty. See you on the other side.”