“I am in pain and distress: may your salvation, O God, protect me.”
Fresh tears tonight as I grieve for a family I don’t even know. ‘Sam’, the 32 year old sister-in-law of a young man I know, died this morning a week after being involved in a car accident. She leaves behind a husband, a son, a daughter, sisters, and other family and friends that I can’t count or name.
Our Becky’s death was so sudden. Within hours of her accident she was gone, never having regained consciousness. I grieve for Sam’s family that hoped and watched and prayed and rejoiced and agonized for a week as this one they love gained and slipped and ultimately lost the battle for life. Which is worse? Is there a way to calibrate grief? I think not, but I know I’ve thanked God for the blessing for Becky in not returning to consciousness here, but rather awakening to see Jesus.
I know from what I’ve heard that copious prayer was lifted for Sam’s healing. The same is true for Becky. As soon as we were aware that there had been an accident people all over the country were praying for her health and life. And then death. What is this hard answer? Is this a shouted ‘NO’ or a resounding ‘YES’ to life, to full and complete healing? It pains like a no to us, but I wonder about them . . . about Becky and Sam? Oh that they could talk to us now!
I was eighteen when I first came to know Jesus. I remember thinking, ‘Oh Lord please wait!’ when first I realized He was coming again. I wanted to meet a man and marry and have kids and experience all the sweetness of life. I wanted to share this life-giving Lord with my family and friends. I wanted time before I stepped into eternity. But now pain pushes me and my own pain seems small when I consider the groaning of humans for the years of time. This pain is a between place – it isn’t meant to be where I live. This pain is an unwelcome bridge from what was, through what is, to what will be. “Oh Lord, I plead for Your comfort tonight for Sam’s family. Birth in us the hope of eternity, may Your salvation, Oh Lord, protect us.”
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:21-22
“That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”