A dark storm cloud moved in and parked itself right over our lives at the beginning of May. We all watched as my dear mother-in-law suffered with a neurological disease, and there was not one single thing any of us could do to stop it or fix it. On May 15th, we found ourselves in the eye of the storm as Mrs. Judy passed away. We were relieved she was no longer suffering, but were heartbroken at how quickly her life ended. She was 66-years-old when the Lord healed her body and welcomed her into His holy presence. For comfort we remind ourselves she is now home, pain free, healed by the mighty hand of God, and has seen the face of Christ. I tremble as I type that sentence as I can't begin to imagine what that must've been like. A privilege that He allowed her to experience first before any of us.
These are all thoughts that should offer comfort and do at times, but I can't help but miss her. Deeply. Tremendously. My darling firstborn said it best. With tears rolling down his face after receiving the news of his beloved grandmother's death, he said, "I just wish I could see grandma one last time. Just one last time, mom. That would really lift my spirits."
It's true what they say about grief. It comes in waves. One minute life feels almost normal again. And in the next minute the sting of her indefinite absence jabs your heart with such force, it almost takes your breath away. I find it so interesting, though, that even in Mrs. Judy's death, she is still teaching us so much. The Lord never wastes a hurt. And although I could write on and on about the many things her passing has taught us about life, about death, about our God, I want to honor her and what the Lord has done through her by focusing on this one thing.
Everything we experience here on earth - every hardship, every blessing, every trial, every joy, ALL of it - has an eternal purpose.
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes NOT on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:17-18
What a tragedy it would be to suffer on this earth only to die at the end of our suffering. What a tremendous loss that would be if our suffering was for nothing! If our pain meant nothing, if our tragedy served no purpose. I used to say I didn't understand why God allows suffering. I used to say I didn't understand why He would choose to heal some and allow others to die. The truth is I'm not entitled to that information. Only the Creator of Life is privy to that and I should be thankful. We should ALL be thankful that's how He has it set up. But when it's your loved one, it's only natural to question God, to wonder if He truly exists, to ask why.
Even in the middle of a dark storm cloud, the sun can peak through. As the rays of sunshine jolt down from Heaven onto the ground, so does God's love, peace and comfort. With each glimmer of light that He allows to break through the darkness of the storm cloud, I'm reminded of how His own Son suffered for my sake, of how each trial on this earth does indeed have an eternal goal, of how He has gone before us to prepare a place for us and had that not been true He would have told us.
I have to trust and believe all of these things, because if I didn't what else would I have to hang onto? Without Christ and His promises, I'd have nothing. And though I know not everyone believes as I do, and as tempting as it sometimes is to disregard the promises of God because of all the pain and suffering the world has provided, I choose to believe and trust Him anyway. For me, it's worth being wrong about Him. I figure I have everything to gain if I'm right and nothing to lose if I'm wrong. Plus, I take Hebrews 11:6 pretty seriously, "And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
I can almost hear Mrs. Judy's voice now. She's saying, "Believe, Lindsey, believe. It is so worth it."
Through my tears and heartbreak, please hear my cry. Strengthen my faith. Give me eyes that see and a heart that believes. Help me to keep my eyes on You so that I can set my heart on You. A Mighty Fortress is our God. A Sacred Refuge is Your Name. Your kingdom is unshakable. With You forever we will reign. Through my anguish, I say HALLELUJAH ANYHOW! Send forth your Spirit, my Comforter. In Jesus' Name - Amen.