Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Memorial Bracelet—Psalm 107:23-30

Searching for an appropriate reference for Ben, I landed on this one:

Psalm 107:23-30 (ESV):  
    Some went down to the sea in ships,
        doing business on the great waters;
    they saw the deeds of the LORD,
        his wondrous works in the deep.
    For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
        which lifted up the waves of the sea.
    They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
        their courage melted away in their evil plight;
    they reeled and staggered like drunken men
        and were at their wits' end.
    Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
    He made the storm be still,
        and the waves of the sea were hushed.
    Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
        and he brought them to their desired haven.

His love of the sailing trip "Arr You Prepared?", the highs and lows and exhilarations of the sea, closely match those of our lives. A lot of boredom interrupted by moments of sheer terror. Yet the LORD brings us home safely, no matter what. The enemy may bring the storm, but the LORD provides the harbor.

We've decided to use the memorial gifts to help support other students on the sailing trip. Thank you for your contributions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Now What? Life After the Fork in the the Road

I have to start again somewhere. But what do you write after your beloved Son is gone? God wrote the New Testament, so I guess there is room for something after the pain. Well, not after the pain. Now I learn to live with pain. There is no after. There is this fork in the road that divided on Aug. 26, our lives before it, and our lives after it. We're not the only ones to walk this very dark, lonely, narrow, and rock-strewn path, but not many have. Burying our children isn't anything we know how to do. Especially when they chose to leave. Our hearts remain broken. We are knocked down, but not destroyed. We will not bow down to evil, or curse God. By merely standing, we tick off the enemy. And I plan to tick him off more than he's ticked me off. With my eyes on Jesus, of course.

Two things I've learned, well, at least three...but first, as I shared at Ben's celebration, I understand God's suffering now. I believe that most of us have minimized the depth of God's pain over Jesus' death, knowing that He was returning on Sunday. And yet, as I sat before God on the Sunday morning after Ben's Friday night death, I, too, knew that Ben had already resurrected. And yet, it wrecked me, and still does. Talking with others who have lost kids for 11, 14, 18 years...they're still wrecked. So I know that God remains wrecked, 1,978 years later, in spite of the resurrection! The suffering remains, even as we rejoice over the ultimate outcome.

And, as I also said that day, I would never have traded Ben. Not for any, not for a hundred, or a thousand, an entire city, or the planet. I would not. Yet, God did. He traded out Jesus, His perfect and beloved Son, innocent and pure...for us—the despicable, idolators, addicts, selfish, haters of God and haters of others....Why would He do it? His love is great. So great that He cannot bear the thought of losing us, even while we deserve condemnation. And He cannot bear the thought of our lives being lived out same old same old. He longs for restoration and freedom, and joy! in His children. For what He's suffered, can we not understand that He wants only the very best?

Finally, there is an enemy. No, that's not the news. The news is that that enemy wants us to focus our attention on his great victory and our great loss. God intervened, and showed me that that enemy has lost far more than he's won! Even in this, it's another enemy loss. Ben went straight to Jesus and escaped the grasp of the demon who killed him! We've prayed for our daughter who is doing exceedingly well, and has been a voice of maturity this past six weeks. Thousands of prayers have been offered up for us, and here we stand. Struck down, not destroyed. Our ship has been found seaworthy, tested by the severest storm. Prayer works, it matters, God still listens and responds. Thank you all for your many prayers. Our boat still leaks badly, and we still covet your support.

We praise Him, albeit with broken hearts. Yet the One who first had His own heart broken, fully understands.