Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Joy ahead

Yesterday someone asked me to talk to a friend whose daughter is dying.  This person told me that her friend didn't have anyone to talk to.  It reminded me of a night five years ago this month (seems like yesterday) when I didn't have anyone to talk to either.  We had just had the "There's nothing more we can do" talk with Anna's surgeon.  (Trust me, that is a conversation you never want to have with a doctor.)  Richard and I were still reeling from the news and were unable to help each other.  In my desperation, I reached out and called four different people in Oklahoma (we were in Delaware) and no one answered the phone.  I believe it was God's way of saying "Run to me and no one else.  I will comfort you."
But that dark night I couldn't even talk to God.  Earlier in the day I had confidently quoted Job and said, "Tho he slay me, yet will I trust him," but the truth is, I NEVER thought God would slay me.  I never thought my daughter would die.
Later I remembered a verse I wrote in my journal before she was born, when the doctor told us that the baby I was carrying might have Downs Syndrome.
'Why are you so angry?' The Lord asked...'Why do you look so dejected?  You will be accepted if you respond in the right way.  But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out!  Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.' (Genesis 3:6-7)
5 1/2 years later I had to choose again to respond in the right way or I would be destroyed by my own grief.
I chose to trust that God was in control of the situation.
I chose to trust that he would fulfill his purpose for Anna--and for me.
I chose to trust that what I could see was temporary and what I could not see was eternal.
I have that same choice  today when I am faced with something that doesn't go my way.  Will I respond correctly or will I be destroyed by my sin?
When I talk so someone whose child has recently been diagnosed with cancer, one of the things I tell them is, "It's not all bad.  There is good.  Look for it."  When something tragic happens, you think that you will never be happy again.  It's not true.  We had some dark and painful times, but we also had some wonderful, blessed, never-trade-them-for-anything moments.
When someone dies, you feel certain you will never be happy again.  But that's not true either.
Because of the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).  Because of the joy set before me, I too can endure the sufferings of this life--including my child's death.
But, Jesus didn't just come to give us eternal life someday.  He came so that we might have abundant life today.  For a long time after Anna died, the only thing I looked forward to was my own death.   Now I am looking forward to company coming this weekend, a date with my husband, a shopping trip with Audra, a family vacation, a nephew's wedding, and so much more.  It's not the life I planned, but it's a good life with good things.
If you are suffering, remember that there is joy ahead--in this life and in the one to come.


Elaine said...

What an awesome post! I remember when my daughter Amy was diagnosed with CF. We had recently moved and left all close friends behind. When I was lamenting this to a neighbor she said, "Perhaps God wants you to lean only on Him". I will never forget that. God is with us every our sorrow and in our joy. I too, thought I would never be happy again after Amy went home to the Lord, but He has given me joy and peace and fun times again.

Marianne said...

Thank you Marlo!! So excellent and just what I needed to hear today!! God uses you constantly!

Janna L. Walters said...

Catching up with your posts! Still think of you often.

Janna L. Walters said...

Just catching up on your blog posts. Mother's Day was very difficult (only the second one since Micah's passing). Joshua also graduated high school this May. Soon it will just be Mark and I.

I can still see Anna in the room next door or down the hall at Children's. I think of you often!