The Broken Bell

During the last month of Annette Teeter’s lengthy battle with cancer, the small glass “Precious Moments” bell became her constant companion. Her voice had grown weaker, and the sweet tone of that bell would beckon me to her side when she needed help. Sometimes it was a call for me to read scripture or pray. Randy Alcorn's books on Heaven had been a real encouragement, and we spent a lot of time sitting on the couch together watching Gaither Homecoming videos and DVDs. The songs about Heaven were a real encouragement and blessing to us both.

The last two nights when she could no longer talk, her mind remained clear and sharp. We spent those last nights on the couch together because it was easier for her to be sitting up. The night of January 7 we again watched a Gaither DVD, and after midnight her breathing became quite labored. About 2:30 in the morning she broke into a big smile and her lips were moving. When I asked her if she had just seen Jesus she nodded her head and whispered “yes.” That was her final communication with me.

At 7:00 her breathing slowed down and at exactly 8:00 AM on January 8 the angels took her hand from mine and escorted her into Glory. Finally, after more than nine years of suffering and battling cancer, she had been granted total healing and victory. The bells of Heaven had called her home, and what I was so incapable of doing for her when she rang the bell, God did for her completely, and instantly.

Sometime during the following days when the family had gathered, our one and a half year old granddaughter Madeline was playing with the bell when it dropped and broke. I glued the pieces back together, but there were a couple of chips missing and the integrity of the bell was destroyed and it would no longer ring.

Then it dawned on me that the bell no longer needed to ring. When the bells of Heaven rang for Annette, my feeble help was no longer needed. Dan and Rachel talked about replacing the bell, but I told them the value of this one had just gone up many times over. It will be a constant reminder to me of God's indescribable love, power and grace. His strength was truly made perfect in our weakness.

(Jack Teeter is the director of Member Care and Interim Alaska Field Director for InterAct Ministries, http://www.interactministries.org, which ministers to the North Pacific Crescent.)