While my husband and I made our way to the East Coast to spend time with our daughter and family, grandsons, my own siblings and their families, word came to us of the sudden death of our friend Craig. Shock beyond words! Grief and heart-break for our friend Cindy, his dear wife as well as for ourselves and all those who have known him and loved him. No time for prayer, beseeching, begging!
How could this be?
Craig...a vibrant, creative, giving, godly, and young (just 56 years old) man...devoted husband, filled with plans for an up-coming Sabbatical year.
Craig...a published author who had just spent recent years tracing his birth family, recording his findings in his book, A Family Apart.
Why did you take Craig home, Lord?
Then a few days later, word came of my friend Linda, who had just suffered a stoke at 73 years of age.
Linda...prayer warrior, godly persevering woman of God, hard worker, caring servant.
Linda...faithful wife, beloved mother, adored grandmother, treasured friend.
But here is the contrast...as Linda was going into surgery, unable to move her right side, suddenly and miraculously she began to speak and move her body. Apparently the clot had dissolved.
We all who had begged God for her life praised and gloried in the God of all mercies who had seen fit to heal and spare Linda's precious life.
We are thrilled beyond measure...
But why, Lord? Why not Craig also?
So that's always the dilemma.
Why one and not the other?
And why does one godly, grieving mom bury her 4 year old because of an accidental death and other moms get to enjoy and nurture their 4 year olds to adulthood.
Why does one dear wife of a beloved 73 year old Bible teacher have to bury her husband, and I got to keep mine after his widow maker heart attack?
And why does a young, vibrant college student go home to Jesus after a bike accident when my young, vibrant college age son survived cancer and later got to watch his own sons grow?
A mystery beyond knowing...
locked up in the mind of God...
hardest of the hard!
When our kinship group was exploring the book of Acts years ago, one verse jumped out at me, and I've been clinging to it ever since. And this truth gives me great comfort in the midst of the unknowing:
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep...
Acts 13:36a ESV
As a child of God, we each have the privilege of "serving the purpose of God in our own generation" ...in our own context ...in our own "today."
And none of us knows how many todays we have ... but enough to serve God's purpose in our own generation.
So here is what I hold onto ...
Each day is precious. It is a gift. In it I have the honor to serve God's purpose in my generation.
And so I have to believe that those who "go home to God" have served God's purpose in their generation.
That doesn't take away the grief and pain of the losing, but it can comfort in the not knowing.
So dear friend, whether you are on the grieving end or rejoicing end or both right now, embrace your today, thank God for it, hug it to your breast. You were ordained for His purpose.
Thank God for your loved ones...and for the bittersweet memories and lessons of those you have released back to His embrace.
Why not join me in starting each of your precious, one-of-a-kind days with a this prayer and then a song:
Lord, You are my King. I serve at your pleasure and for your purpose today.
Unfold your fullness in my life, for your honor and glory. Amen.
Flow within me like a living stream...
May we live the gospel of your grace,
Serve your purpose in our fleeting days
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your Name.