1 – It’s raining in Atlanta.
2 – As many of you know, we are criers. And not in the town crier gossip way (although, there could be an argument for that). We are just the type of people that often finds tears in their eyes. Reader Betsy taught us about the sensation of the “Wet Day.” The day you wake up in the morning and go ahead and pack the Kleenex.
This morning I knew it was going to be a Wet Day. And when Reader g-love sent me this, my tears were definitely realized…
From a minister on the death of his infant son:
…And then he passed.
[My son's] passing feels like forever. If you’ve ever lost someone that you care about deeply, then you know what I mean. Saying goodbye to someone for a summer can be very difficult. Saying goodbye to someone for a few years can feel almost tragic. But when someone dies, and you know that as long as you draw breath you can’t ever see them, that feels like forever. My heart doesn’t seem to be able to wrap itself around the hurt and loss that I’m feeling.
I few years ago I watched my father die. Yesterday I watched my son die. Both were awful in their own way. But watching my son die felt more unnatural than death already feels. It is supposed to be the other way around, right? The 4th certainly is supposed to bury the 3rd, isn’t he? Not for us.
God takes credit for a lot of things in the Bible. He is the God of “mercies” and “all comfort” (2 Cor 1). He is the God of peace (1 Cor 14). ”God is love” (1 John 4). And I believe in the God of mercy, comfort, peace, and love.
But God takes credit for a lot more than these things, doesn’t he? ”I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7). ”Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (Psalm 135:6).
I’m not going to lie, these words sting. Well, they hurt actually. They make me mad. God could have done whatever he wanted to in this situation. What troubles me is that he did do what he wanted to do in this situation. And you’ve been there too, haven’t you? You’ve suffered injustice, endured betrayal, even lost loved ones to death for no apparent reason.
Deep down we suspect that our God is sovereign. We suspect that he controls and orders all things. And then we read the Bible, and there we find that our suspicions aren’t without merit. In fact they are confirmed. God is in control. And sometimes, as one of my dear friends told me today, God hurts his friends. He’s right.
But God isn’t playing games with our emotions or with our lives, as much as it may feel like it in our bones. He isn’t punishing us. Quite frankly, I’m not sure what he’s doing in this exact moment, but I know that he is not finished. Oh sure, I’ve read Romans 8:28. I even believe it. But that doesn’t tell me what is happening to me right now, in this moment, as I look at a funeral home receipt.
But God isn’t finished. He is still bringing about his kingdom. You know, the one where death and tears don’t belong. In moments like this it doesn’t seem possible, but I long for it. God isn’t finished.
This past week, as rough as it has been has convinced me of something. Jesus is real. He is alive. Dealing with death this week has reminded me in new ways that this life is fragile. Everything can change in a painful instant. While Jesus sometimes brings death to the young, he also offers eternal life to those who will trust him.
Losing my son feels like forever. But it isn’t forever. Jesus came to offer life to the weak and helpless in this life and the next. It’s as true as I am sad. Jesus came to offer eternal life. God knows what it’s like to lose a son. He sent his son to die for his people. If you know what it is like to rejoice in the grace and mercy of God, I mean really know, then I rejoice with you. But. If you don’t, then ask yourself if Jesus just might be pursuing you. Then talk to someone who knows what its like to be pursued by him. Then you too might rejoice.