Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When Death Interrupts the Thanks-Giving.

* The candle in the darkness penetrates the night. * Lift the banner high.       * The things we don't understand is where we walk by faith not by sight.       * The darkness did not comprehend the light.
A friend of mine buried his thirty-four year old son on Saturday. As I drove four hours through fog and unclear skies to get to the service, I felt sadness blanket my soul, its compelling grief swirling in layers around me. It is so hard to lose those we love, especially when there is heartache attached, a rift that has separated the family unit.

Things begin to happen, a division, a misunderstanding, a schism, fracture in the family tie. The sides are taken. Sometimes there is a third dimension,as there was in this case. Sadly, the evil one uses our weak areas and our uncertainty as an opportunity to gain the advantage. He attacks families, using insidious weapons to cause division, suspicion of thought and purpose, to cause walls to erect that come between...even when one fights to stop this from happening. People must be vigilant, pro-active, to head off these advances that tear apart, that cause destruction. The damage may be permanent, destroying trust and good faith. Some things become lost to us forever. I feel for my friend. What is lost cannot be repaired.

He and his son were guarded, their words infrequent, the distance real through circumstances hard to deflect. It is painful to lose flesh of your flesh, the hurt penetrates the soul when walls have separated, silence has entered, and words have failed. For my friend, the end came before the relationship healed. It is unknown what happened. Suicide or homicide? It has yet to be determined. The pain of loss is cleaving the hearts of both parents and two grown siblings, several nieces and nephews, and also a young daughter that the son has left behind. Their world will never be the same.
Yet. Always. Why? Why, God, did you allow such a tragedy? Why didn't you stop it from happening? And what about our broken hearts? Will life go on? How can we be happy when there is so little to be thankful for? Will we ever be happy again?
Is God cruel? Is loving and losing part of His plan? Does God really care about our broken hearts and wounded spirits?  

This I know. God takes the broken things of this world and He touches them. Something is created from the ashes of pain that would not have been created aside from the pain. Not as a punishment but as a deepening trust in God, a reliance on Him for that which we cannot endure during the suffering. We can never figure out the why. That is an unending enterprise. We have not been promised freedom from pain and tragedy but it is possible to accept both the good and the bad that life dishes out. God has given us a Helper to hold our hand as we traverse the difficult unknown, to restore and heal, and to find hope somewhere beyond ourselves.

Does God care? I think so. Jesus wept at Lazarus' grave. He raised a nobleman's daughter from the sleep of death. He comforted Mary in the garden by the tomb. God stores our tears in a bottle. He carries our burdens and comforts our empty arms. 
"Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  

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