“Will you be going to the cemetery?”
The magnet thumps dully against the metal as the flag declaring our intentions is put on the roof of the car. The sky is a brilliant blue, unfit for grief and I think back to a similar sky on a similar day over a decade ago.
What do you say to the boys who have lost their mother? What do you say to the husband who can’t make sense of how cancer laid claim to a body within a span of days? Not years. Not months. Days.
“I am so sorry…”
Troubled soul don’t lose your heart
‘Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that’s in store
Outweighs the hurt of life’s sting
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always (1)
There will be a day with no more suffering, no more pain, no more fears. Even and especially when we don’t understand Jesus please flood our hurt with your comfort. Peace that passes understanding. The assurance that covers all hurt – not removing it but allowing you to breathe through it and heal in spite of it. And I know it and believe it and have laid claim to it. I pray that they do too because mere words fall hollow on both ears and breaking hearts.
“The doctor will see you now.”
“You’re blood tests look great. So, you know you are in remission…”
I grab hold of these words and hang on as if my lives depends on them, because it does. But for how long? And how will I know when I’m not? And what happens then? Will I have the grace to declare God’s sovereignty over my life? When the fear becomes paralyzing, the unknown too heavy to carry, lay it down…take courage. God is striding ahead. And if that day comes, if the results are different, He promises He will be right there with me.
This has been a week of paradigms of opposition, of declarations of continued health and the sweeping hand of death. It’s been a week where even a diagnosis of remission is terrifying because it isn’t a continued guarantee of anything. Life’s fragility has been at center stage.
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You (2)
“Hey, Mom. My homework is done and the top is still off of the Jeep. Can I go get ice cream before I put it back on?”
The clock says its almost 9:00 on a school night. That brilliant blue sky of the morning has faded and darkened.
“Sure.” Then, running out the door after him, even though I am ready to call it a night, “Wait! I am coming too.”
And with the now night-cooled wind blowing our hair and the heater cranked warming our feet he looks at me and says, “Thanks for coming along.”
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
And in his sincerity, my eyes fill and my heart spills over as God wakes me up to how much life there is to live in every single day. I think about how quickly time is passing us by and how I don’t want to miss a second of it because as I have been reminded there aren’t any guarantees.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long. (3)
Praising and leaning in and holding on for dear life because Oh God, how I need You.
(1)There Will Be A Day, Jeremy Camp (2) Lord, I Need You, Matt Maher (3) Blessed Asurance, Frances Crosby