It's cancer again. Times 3. A deaconess and mentor, the husband of our children's ministry director (and one of the hardest working ladies I've ever met), and a precious lady who has been a long-time member and is loved by all who know her. If we're just talking ratios here, it sure seems like our little church is WAY over average in how often we've dealt with this recently. It feels like we're taking a beating. And if I'm being honest, it feels like nonsense. (How is this possible?) We mourned the loss of 2 dear friends just a few short months ago. And each time we think this "season" might be winding down, it rebounds with a vengeance. I kind of want to scream, "ENOUGH!!!" (If I'm being honest again, my heart whines it all day long even when my lips don't utter the word.)
But I keep reading this:
Even as we slog through the trials, persecutions, irritations, temptations, distractions, apathy, & just plain weariness of this world, the gospel points us to heaven where our King Jesus — the Lamb of God who was crucified in our place & raised gloriously from the dead — now sits interceding for us. Not only so, but it calls us forward to that final day when heaven will be filled with the roaring noise of millions upon millions of forgiven voices hailing him as crucified Savior and risen King.” --Greg Gilbert
Ohhhhhhhhhhh. Yes, Lord and Thank You, Jesus.
It makes all of this seem so temporary in the best way possible. Richard and Anne just got to join the roaring noise and start "hailing" a little before me, but we'll do it together again soon. I like that thought. I cherish that thought. I *NEEEEEED* that thought.
To be clear, I am in no hurry whatsoever to say goodbye to ANY MORE OF MY FRIENDS! (Make it stop.) I'm praying against this awful disease with ALL of my heart. But whatever it is God is doing that I don't understand and probably never will, I do understand this: He's building his kingdom. With many of my friends. Some already singing in glory. Others possibly not far from glory. And then the rest of us who will just have to wait. But all of us ultimately within those millions of forgiven voices. So comforting. And somehow less abrupt than the thought of death. There's no permanent break here. We're just worshiping in different places for a little while. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but for me, it is pretty much the one and only thread keeping my rapidly unraveling heart pulled together.
Will you pray with me for Natalie, Jerry and Daisy? (I'm being stingy with details on purpose, but God will know.)