being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus
Not Created for Death, but for Each Other
You may (or may not) have noticed I’ve been absent for a bit.
The girls and I took a 2 1/2 week trip to visit family and celebrate a graduation and a wedding.
Then tragedy. Four hours after returning home, we received one of those late night phone calls that no one ever wants to receive.
A house fire at my grandparents’ house. Grandpa didn’t make it. Uncle is unconscious, but it’s not looking good.
Then an hour later. Uncle died due to smoke inhalation. He died trying to save Grandpa.
Two lives lost. A forty-some year old home gone, a total loss.
The rest of us, shocked to our core, not sure if we’re in the middle of a terrible nightmare from which we can’t rouse ourselves or living in a reality that no one should ever have to experience.
And just like that, we trek back across four states to help my family plan a double funeral.
How does one celebrate the lives lived (now at peace eternally with our Savior) in the midst of a grief-stricken tragedy?
How does one hold it together when everything seems to be falling apart?
How does one reconcile that she had expected to receive a phone call about Grandpa, but not like this, and not in tandem with her uncle’s death?
How does one wrap her arms around every grieving family member and still hold on to some semblance of sanity?
The short answer, the only answer, is to lean upon the everlasting arms.
I watched the body of Christ overwhelm my loved ones and me with love in the form of food, encouraging words, gifts to replace what was lost, and the prayers from all over the globe, prayed for/with/over us.
We experienced the hands, feet, shoulders and love of Christ in the most pure and practical way possible by way of this family God created – a group of sinful misfits, a people adopted through grace, a diverse hodgepodge of formally dead people.
We weren’t created for death. We weren’t created to live in this world, so broken, so full of sin, so full of pain. We weren’t created to have to deal with these tragedies that leave us wondering who is in charge and why bad things happen to good people.
While the emotions ebb and flow over my heart, the most overwhelming is that of gratitude for this family God has so perfectly crafted, this family into which I have been so graciously adopted, this family with open arms and generous hands.
Family of God, you helped and continue to help shoulder the weight of the circumstances created by living in a fallen world. One of the reasons we’ve been given each other is so that our frail humanity can bear these circumstances not intended for our eternal souls.
I will share more about my grandfather and uncle next time. I loved both of them so very much and the words to express that haven’t been given to me to share yet.
For now, I can only be thankful for you. Despite what the world may believe about this family, and its messiness and imperfections, these relationships are just small tastes of heaven in this bitter world. The human experience is marked by definitive moments during our short time on earth. When that time is over, if what is left is the overwhelming love of Christ exemplified in and through His people, then that human experience can only be classified as exemplary.