In my post of May 15, I wrote of some dear friends who surely do not grieve as those who have no hope . . .
but what I did not write about was the scenario that happened eight short days after perhaps the most difficult day in that close-knit family’s life. Eight days after my husband and I had stood at the graveside, weeping with them, praying for them.
eight days . . .
had passed when I found myself watching my husband being rolled away toward heart surgery. Knowing the severity of his condition and seeing the swiftness with which our cardiologist had rushed to find a surgeon, though surrounded by the grace and peace of our Lord I did not feel guaranteed the outcome I wanted.
But think about it, none of us are guaranteed even one more breath . . . ever.
The doors shut behind his gurney, and I was escorted to an empty waiting room joined by a dear friend. Over the next six hours, family members arrived from four different cities. Dear sweet friends gathered to be with us.
With each one’s entrance, love and strength walked in . . . God came nearer.
But there was not a more courageous love gift as when our friend’s widow and daughter came to be with us. Eight days into their deepest grief, they appeared and stayed with us for several hours. What a gift for me, and for my children.
. . . for God Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.’ Hebrews 13:5.
I cling to that truth.
Our friends live that truth.
But what about the truth of that statement in light of the death of 32 year old Seth who died of cardiac arrest while on an annual missions’ venture with his family. A man following God, loving and serving among the impoverished of the world.
How can that be a picture of God never failing? Did God ‘call Seth home’ in those moments? ‘Choose Seth’ to die? What kind of loving God would do that to a young wife and small child? Not our God. Though I know many would say ‘allow’ equals ‘choose’, I believe it does not.
We live in a fallen world where illnesses happen. Bodies give out. Though at times God absolutely still heals and prevents things that bring us sorrow, God did not walk away when disease took its toll on a young man’s life. God was with him and is carrying his family.
The certainty put forth in Hebrews 13:5 does NOT have an addendum that God ‘most of the time’ never forsakes us. It does not say that ‘sometimes’ God doesn’t abandon us.
Nowhere in Scripture are there any such words.
Rather it says that in our sin-filled, disease-ridden, human choice-driven world, God reigns. God is in and around all of creation. God rejoices in our joys and in our Kingdom work. And, God sits with us and weeps over our sorrows. God provides for our soul needs in the darkest of nights, and days.
God will not abandon His children . . .
God did not promise to prevent all suffering. We will all face hard things in life, some unspeakably hard. Jesus teaches those who declare unbridled allegiance to Him may suffer immensely in this life . . .
and yet, God will never, ever leave or forsake us. God will strengthen us. God’s grace will somehow be sufficient. God, our never-forsaking God, will be with us.
God.Jehovah. The One who is, who was and who is to come. El Elyon, Most High God. El Olam, Everlasting God. Jehovah Sabbaoth, Lord of Hosts. Jehovah Raah, the Lord my Shepherd. Jehovah Shammah, God who is standing near. Jehovah Shalom, God who is our Peace.
God the Father who created us. God whose love is all encompassing, all inviting. God our Savior. Jesus who provided for our redemption, understands our sorrows, intercedes for us. God the Holy Spirit who lives within each believer, is God’s presence with us, bears Kingdom fruit from us.
I believe this great, holy, loving triune God will never leave Seth’s family and will wrap His mighty compassionate arms around each of them in the coming days and years.
God will receive much glory through his legacy and the continuation of his life’s work . . .
and God will never, ever forsake his family.