Not A Moment Too Soon...
Over the last ten days, I have wondered, prayed, cried, talked too much, and I have not spoken at all. For it was ten days ago that my fiancee was killed in a car wreck on the way back from the two of us visiting and choosing our wedding venue. She died 104 days before our wedding day.
Growing up in the South I often heard the verse "Take every thought captive to obey Christ." But growing up in a Southern Baptist youth group I thought this only applied to not looking at porn and playing with myself. This week I have come to understand that it is so much more. For I have had to fight, tooth and nail, to trust Abba God. I have had to be on guard in the midst of a fog to be on watch for half-truths and common phrases that would lead me away from what is true.
I have had people tell me that my beloved one was 'taken too soon'. I know that people are saying that there are no words to explain why such a beautiful woman died a block from her home 104 days before her wedding. I know that they are saying that it's a mystery why someone who had just escaped a life of legalism, shame, and fear only a year before would not be allowed to live decades understanding the grace of Jesus. I know that people are saying that it's hard to understand why she was taken when so many evil people still breathe. She would often ask me to read her psalms at times of pain and heartache. In the 139th chapter of that Holy Book are these words: "Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
These words bring both questions and comfort. For within them is the truth that Hannah died right when she was meant to, She did not die a moment too early...or a moment too late. She lived the perfect amount of days. And yet, this brings in a flood of questions and 'what if's'.
But it is in the hardest times that the total sovereignty of God is hardest to swallow and yet most comforting to take in. For to simply dive deep into the Psalms that my darlin' loved so much we find that in the hard times, and in the easy, our God is in the Heavens, and He does whatever He pleases. We find also that those who are rescued from the pain and sin of this world are those that God delights in. Or we may rest in the truth that we are invited to be honest when we are downcast and in turmoil, yet we can speak the gospel to ourselves and be satisfied with a peace this world cannot understand. We can again find the truth that all the time of our life is held within the hand of the Father, so we can trust Him with each moment of our lives. And we can trust Him with each moment of the lives of our loved ones.
This does not mean that we are not broken by the death of one we love. For when we look to Christ we see that when confronted with the death of someone He loved, He wept. He was honest with the pain that is caused by death. For though for those who have been brought into the family of God to die is better than life, for to die is to be with Jesus. To die is gain, for those, who like Hannah, are loved by Jesus.
But still, there is a pain that remains. For no matter how much we can believe these truths, we also know that death exists due to living in a world broken and tainted by sin. We know that death is still an enemy, and byproduct of a broken world.
I have in the past ten days asked Jesus to take away this deep sorrow that I feel. And yet, He has not. And when I can be honest with myself I am glad He has not done so. For great grief is birthed from great pain. And I could escape this pain if I wanted. I could take it away for hours on end by drowning myself in a bottle of good whiskey, or by grabbing a bag from a corner boy.
For in this world we will all have pains, trouble, and tribulation. And Jesus loves us too much to numb our pain. He loves us too much to let His presence act like an opium den. Instead, He does what each of us truly needs in times like this. He promises to walk through the darkness with us. He reminds us to be honest with the fact that in this world we will have trouble, but does not leave it there. For He is the One who has overcome the world.
So if you happen to find yourself in a place similar to the world I am not waking up in...lament. But do it well. Remember the words of the weeping prophet: "Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'"