It was my second year of college. I got the phone call from my sister.
He had died. A several year battle with cancer ended on this earth. Multiple treatments, desperate measures. It was over.
He was diagnosed when I was in high school. He was my friend. A Gentle Giant we all called him. He loved children and wanted some of his own one day. I had known him since I was 3. We played in the kitchen area during preschool, not knowing that this time on earth is finite.
He was not just my friend. He had many friends. He knew no stranger, and he had a beautiful family that loved him, friends that looked up to him, and a faith in Jesus that shone above all.
My faith was shaken in God. I cried out to him in the stairwell of my dorm, wondering why someone so young had to die. And to die in this way? It seemed so cruel. It just wasn't fair. It still isn't fair.
My heart hardened. All I believed was tested. How could a God, a good God, allow this? He raised the dead to life. He healed those disease-ridden. He was a life-giver.
He was a life-giver. He gave His life. And His Father saw him there, and turned his back. And He did it for me. He did it for you. The Father knew what it felt like...what it meant...what true agony it was to watch His Son die.
He knows what it feels like to watch His heart die. Yet, He knew the whole story...the triumphant reasoning behind the suffering. The victory in what looked like defeat.
Once I realized this, my world outlook changed. This world is imperfect. Sin abounds. We are humans in a failing place. This earth truly is not our home; if we were to see what awaited us, our earthly minds could not comprehend or understand. The healing doesn't always look like normalized blood tests and clear scans...and in the same breath, the healing doesn't always mean leaving this earth. I don't know how or why things turn out the way they do. I don't understand why a 30-something-year-old woman is dying from breast cancer and another woman has been in remission for years. The only thing I'm sure of is this: I just don't know. I never will know this side of heaven. I have to cling to the promise in God's Word. I have to walk by faith and know in my heart, not just my mind, that this earthly body and experience are just slivers of the joy to come.
I'm sure you have been touched by this as well. And if you haven't, you will. Tomorrow's blog will delve a little deeper into the hard... the gritty...the things we just don't talk about for fear of sounding hopeless or hateful. But we were created to experience the pains, the joys, the mundane everyday tasks, the monumental happenings that shape who we are. And we learn from this. We grow, and we are refined.
To be continued....