Last Sunday we brought home new friends from church to share our lunch. We had a lovely afternoon, getting acquainted, watching our little girls play with their little girl and laughing about Addy and their three-year-old son who sturdily climbed up to the top of our ridge with the older boys… after we got over our fright at not being able to find them, of course.
We parted with comments about wanting to get together again. Yesterday I heard that the little girl, Jackie, went to Jesus after a frighteningly short battle with pneumonia. My mind refuses to accept that this could happen. I can think of so many reasons why she should have lived. But she is gone and we are left shocked and stricken.
My first impulse is to clutch obsessively at my dear ones, something I have battled with a lot in the past. Once more I have to come to the place of knowing that our children are safest when we leave them in the hands of Jesus.
The second impulse is to wail out the questioning WHY?
One side of me thinks of wispy-haired little girls sitting around the table and drawing crayon pictures of rainbows and butterflies and flowers after Sunday lunch. I watch them put their shaky five-year-old signatures on their perceptions of innocent happiness. While I rejoice to think that sweet Jackie can never be touched with the brokenness of this world again, yet I am desperately sad that she didn’t get to grow up. It feels so unfair that her devoted parents have to walk through this dark valley.
Last week Gabriel read us the story of David who fasted and pled with God for seven days for the life of his infant son. I marveled with the servants who watched David get up after his son died. They saw him wash and change his clothes and go to worship, and they asked, “What is going on?” David replied with those words of faith, “Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12
I have no way to process tragedy except through the eyes of faith, and even that grows pretty dim at times. When Hebrews 11 says that faith is the “conviction of a reality that we do not see, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses,” (amplified Bible) I think, “No kidding!”
Yet I believe that there is something going on that is adding to a weight of glory somewhere, “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2Corinthians 4:18) We are not asked to understand. We are asked to believe.
Oh, Jesus, in the sorrows of this world, give me eyes of faith!