We buried a close family friend today. One of my dad’s oldest friends, a fellow church member, neighbor-down-the-road when my brothers and I were growing up.
It was sad yet triumphant. Cancer and pneumonia are no longer ravaging his earthly body. He’s basking in the splendor and radiance of his LORD and SAVIOR, an assurance his family and friends will cling to in the days to come.
A week ago Sunday we buried my dad’s older brother. We gathered with family members we’d seen seldom in the last twenty years. I re-introduced myself to cousins I’d not shared breathing space with for thirty-five years. Elated exclamations of “It’s so good to see you!” mixed with regretful murmurs, “Why did we let so many years go by …”
It was especially tough as he was the first of three siblings to pass. Yet we rejoiced that his twenty year battle with Parkinson’s disease had ended. We remembered his bravery in submitting to experimental procedures that paved the way for promising treatments and applauded his decision to donate his brain to research. He too gained his eternal reward and no doubt welcomed my dad’s long-time friend to heaven.
My daughter’s most recent battle with medical bureaucracy has heaped frustration and concern upon an already heavy load. Two weeks of shrugs, finger-pointing and “we have no idea what happened…” to secure insurance coverage for a much needed drug. This skirmish comes on the heels of a sixteen-month-and-counting ordeal of wading through mountains of red tape to gain approval and figure out the endless details for another needed medication. And how could I forget the brand-spanking-new, state-of-the-art piece of medical equipment that suddenly, unexplainedly stopped working. It appears an act of Congress may be required to get it replaced.
Yet our excitement spiked late last week with the official announcement of FDA approval for a drug that will address the basic defect that causes her cystic fibrosis. The answer to twenty-six years of prayers! When the discovery of the gene responsible for the majority of CF cases wowed the medical world the very week she was diagnosed in 1989, we knew GOD was already at work. What we prayed would be available within ten years, alas, took just shy of twenty-six years to arrive. Yet we rejoice and praise GOD for his provision through those long years.
As our beloved country rocks with dissension, as hatred threatens the Christian tenets many of us hold dear, fear and uncertainty creep in, clouding the peace and joy that should reign in our hearts. We lament the way things used to be. We dread what may be ahead. We succumb to doubts and worry.
Let us be convinced that nothing that’s happened has been a surprise to GOD. Nothing that will transpire in the days to come will catch him by surprise.
If you are a Christian, you serve a GOD who cannot be defeated or crushed or lessened in anyway by the plots of man. Now more than ever we must seek HIS WORD to get our marching orders because we are soldiers in the LORD’s ARMY.HE has not abandoned us. Let’s not abandon HIM.
We long for smooth sailing, for easy everything—for pain and disease and calamity to pass us by. For longer—much longer—with our loved ones. For assurance of plenty in the days to come. Even as GOD’s word plainly tell us to expect the opposite of smooth sailing, it promises us that HE’s got this. Whatever “this” may be.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
Two songs have blanketed my mind in recent days.
“Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
Even so come
Lord Jesus, come…”
“Whatever will come my way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken…”
Will you join me in clinging to the HOPE and PROMISE of Romans 8:31…
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”