What a week it’s been. Just one of those seasons when bad news just keeps coming. And none of it even affects me or anyone in my immediate family on a personal level. But some of the people I care deeply about are hurting and that means I hurt too. I talked in the last post about dear friends affected by the tornados that rumbled through the area on Sunday night who lost their brother the next morning. And another family friend who just today found out the probably colon cancer is actually stage 4 with tumors in the abdomen and on the liver; she has an uphill battle before her. And an old friend from years past who is a single mom and just found out she doesn’t have a job anymore with no reasonable explanation to hold on to. And a family very close to my heart dealing with extended family issues that are painful, embarrassing and overwhelming. And another family whose 16 year old son committed suicide last night and was found by his mom. And my coworker who buried his only child today after his other son committed suicide just one short year ago. So much loss. Too much pain. Overwhelming grief. It’s easy to feel helpless and lost in the news of such disastrous circumstances. None of us can do anything to mend these broken hearts or ease the burdens they are facing. The only thing I can do, know to do, is pray. Plead my case before the throne of God and beg for mercy for each one of them. Even that feels helpless. Like it’s simply not enough. But it’s all I’ve got.
Even though loved ones are dying, the sun is faithful to rise tomorrow morning. Even though loss of health and financial stability show up to slap us in the face, time still marches on. Even though friends and family disappoint, there are those – children, spouse, coworkers – who still rely on us. Even though life brings unexpected turns and battles, there is life to be lived, breath to be exhaled and strength to be gained.
Just as Ecclesiastes 3 says (from The Message) ~
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift. I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.
Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.
Not a one of us has the capability to determine our next step. We plan, we dream, we work hard to make the best life we can, give our kids the world, love deeply and share passionately. Yet it’s not enough to overcome the tragedy that befalls each of us. Because trouble comes. Death knocks. Pain sneaks in. Stress overwhelms. Loved ones disappoint. Yet at the end of the day, God is still present and will do as He wants. Because even in the bad, He is still good. It’s hard to see in the fog of crisis. Sometimes it’s completely impossible to take in. Yet His loving arms are outstretched to each of us. He’s here. Anyone who believes, who trusts, who knows personally the Father who gives the hope of eternity understands joy in the midst of trouble. Coming to the other side, being able to stand back, look around, see the hardship you trudge through no matter how messy and ugly it may be brings a revelation of His goodness and zealous love for us. It’s still hard when you are in the trenches. But eternity is coming. I can hardly wait.