What a weekend. In the last three days I’ve gone through doctor’s appointments, burials, suicide attempts, sexual assaults, cutting, hail and rain beyond belief, illness, floods, layoffs, and hurts, and in the midst of that encouragement, wonderful worship, and friendships. It’s been “one of those weekends.”
Saturday we headed to London for the “final step” in the grieving process for my wife’s sister — the internment service at the graveside. On our way down to London, the skies got darker and scarcely 15 minutes before the service was to begin the heavens opened up and it rained like I’ve never seen it rain before (including hail!). The gutters were SO full that the water was coming UP out of the sewers, rather than draining away. But just as soon as it started, it stopped and they skies lightened long enough for the ceremony to take place at the graveside.
It was a beautiful time together as a family as we paid our last respects to Brenda, and with the singing of “In Christ Alone” we were reminded that death is NOT the end. We will rejoice in each other’s presence once more.
Only a few minutes after the ceremony was completed, it started to rain (lightly) once more. It was like God was saying, “See. I am with you all the time. Don’t worry.”
Sleep wasn’t easy that night, especially for my wife, as the effects of the day, and being with her Dad, whose health is continuing to get more and more weak, took more out of her than she thought it would.
Sunday morning was a great service with a great time of Praise and a great sermon, but seeing so few people in the congregation makes it bittersweet at the same time.
Sunday evening was our Congregational Meeting. A tough one to say the least where we were forced to face the economic realities of a dwindling congregation and effects that would have on our budget for the next fiscal year. It was not an encouraging meeting at all (in my humble opinion).
Monday morning brought more news from our kids of a friend who had gone through a personal crisis on Sunday evening and that put her in a situation where she wanted to take her own life. Our kids spent a long time texting back and forth and eventually contacting the person’s family in order to have her rushed to the hospital. We were totally oblivious to this as we’d gone to bed, but even now there is no news back as to what’s happened.
Sometimes life is strange. We say that these things make us stronger, but at the same time, I think I’d rather be weak. I wish our children didn’t have to go through watching their friends lives fall apart. I wish that we could find away to reach out to her to help her make Jesus a central part of her life and a source for her strength. I wish everyone would be able to just die in their sleep in their old age, lying beside their spouse, who would simultaneously. I wish life weren’t so hard.
I wish I was able just to turn off the computers, turn off the Blackberry’s, move to my own island country and live in Paradise.
But you know…. We gave that option up, years ago. We now have to pay for our sins against God. I don’t believe He does these things to us, but he certainly allows them to happen for our good – to make us stronger; to help us in ministry to others; to make us more compassionate to our friends and neighbours; to make us trust Him even more.
I may not understand it – why we have to go through all these trials – but I do know that God is in control of all this. He may not like it – but that’s our free will getting in His way – but he’s definitely looking down and giving us brief glimpses of sunshine after the torrential rains to remind us that He’s here and looking down at us, with the same tears in His eyes that we have in ours.