Dear Child of Mine,
How I wish I could promise your heart would never break, tears of sadness would never drip down your precious cheeks. But I can’t. This life is painful, sometimes surprisingly so.
I saw a vague Facebook status of my friend, Ben, and sent him a message asking if he was ok. Not a minute later, my phone rang. It was Ben calling to give me the news himself. His dad had died suddenly, last night. Causes and answers are still elusive. Some of his family still hasn’t received word. The reality of the loss of his father only strikes now and then. It’s been months since he last saw his family, as they are missionaries in Africa. Going a long time between visits or even phone calls, means you get used to life on your own. So the pain is blunt right now, threatening to become vicious, unending, throbbing. But for now he’s driving to be with one of his brothers, seeking comfort in family.
I am so thankful Ben trusted me enough to share this tragic loss with me. I hope he knows I am sharing his burden with him. My heart is so heavy for him. I hope he asks us for help if he needs it. Knowing we really will do whatever it takes to be there for him, he’s a part of our family.
And then, as the ache in my own heart is deepening, I remember that just a few months ago, another dear friend, lost her mother to short, vicious fight with cancer.
HOW CAN THIS BE, dear Jesus?
Dear Child, I hope I can love you well. I am going to practice now, but loving deeply the family and friends the Lord has graciously placed in my life. I want to live TODAY fully, not seeking hard after tomorrow and it’s plans and worries, but being fully present with the Lord and dear ones right here and now.
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
9 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
21 Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
excerpts from Psalm 31