Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reflecting on Emma's Passing

My dear friend Dan,

There are no words--quite simply no words in and of themselves--that can contain a parent's grief; that can soothe the unthinkable; that can answer all (or really any) of the inevitable questions; that can offer what you may need. I wish I could be there--not to say anything, but just to be present with you. That would be the best that I could offer you.

But there is presence behind some words. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted. The presence behind these words give them their power. There is no power or real comfort in the words alone, but in the One who spoke the words--who speaks the words.

You have reminded me often that the One who speaks these words is worth listening to. That He has something worthwhile to say. And you have been right. You still are--His words are backed by His power and His peace passes understanding. I certainly do not understand how it works, but we both trust the One who says that it does--that He does.

Pain is a bullhorn that shouts something. I can only imagine that your current pain may feel like it is shouting loss and despair and emptiness. Those things are real, but they are not everything. What if your pain today is also a pointer to something good and hopeful--that this life is not all that there is; that our future life with God is even more real and valuable and desirable than what we temporarily have in the here and now.

As Dads, we spend so much time providing and protecting, and I do know--in some measure--how it feels when our best efforts seem to come for naught. When we feel unable to provide or protect. Over the past few months I have wrestled with how God fits in this picture and my conclusion has been that I am not God, but He is. It is not my universe, it is His. I cannot draw out good results from tragedy, but He can. I cannot offer peace that passes understanding, but He does.

I am glad that you have lots of people who can be physically present with you. You all have invested in others through the years--time, energy, prayers. In this season, you have the opportunity to allow others to be for you what you have been for them--and I hope that you will feel as supported and blessed as you have made others feel.

I love you my friend and will continue to pray for and lift you all up from afar. Let's talk again soon!