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Last weekend didn’t go the way I had planned.
I was planning for Sunday to be a busy day: Jon and the kids had coffee fellowship setup at church; I was scheduled to play piano; and we had commitments in between services in preparation for our church’s annual Christmas Sunday the following week. To get ready for all of our church activities, I thought that Saturday would be a good day to take things easy and to rest up. It seemed like a perfect plan.
Saturday morning, I had a great visit with my dad. He was doing yard work while Mom and my sister were at a baby shower, then they all planned to drive down to see my grandparents and to take them out to dinner. That sounded like a lovely plan, too.
Plans are good – necessary, even. But just because you plan on something doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone.
I wasn’t expecting a text from my sister telling me that Grampie had collapsed and hit his head on the concrete kitchen floor moments before they arrived for that planned-on dinner.
I knew it was bad even before she followed up with the doctor’s report after he’d been taken by ambulance to the nearest trauma center. As the hours wore on and the news grew increasingly grim – a stroke, two brain bleeds, broken bones, and punctured lung – I saw my pretty little plans crumbling.
So I made new ones.
We’d go to church for setup and piano playing and find volunteers to take over the rest of our obligations so that I could pop over and see Grampie at the trauma center, “just in case.” Sometime in the middle of service, we received more detailed information, including the doctor’s suggestion that family needed to come if they were going to do so, and the sooner, the better.
I thought I would make it in time.
I would have dearly loved to have seen him alive one last time. But that’s the thing about God’s ways: His ways aren’t mine. They’re far better. Even when I cannot see how that can always be, I can trust that they are because He has promised me that it is so. Maybe He knew that I couldn’t handle being there to see Grampie slip away. I may never know the reason He prevented me from one last hand squeeze, but I do know that God is good and that He has my best in mind in every situation.
Although death comes to all living things on Earth now, it wasn’t that way in the beginning. When the Lord God first created the Heavens and the Earth, He said, “It is good.” But when sin – and therefore death – entered, it was no longer good. At all.
Flowers weren’t supposed to wilt. Animals weren’t supposed to perish. Leaves weren’t supposed to fall from the trees.
Grandpas weren’t supposed to die.
As hard as it is to lose a loved one, Death is inescapable. It is not good. It is not as God originally intended. Yet, the Lord can and has redeemed even Death by offering us Eternal life through Christ Jesus. For those who believe in the finished work on the Cross, Death can remind us of the beauty of Heaven, where Death will be unknown, where sorrow will be forgotten. That’s how the Lord can be glorified even in something as sad, unpleasant, and awful as Death, because it still points toward Him and Heaven and Eternal Life.
Sorrow may last for a night, but for the believer, joy comes in the morning. He brings forth beauty from ashes once again.
Your turn: Have you lost a loved one? If so, I’d love to pray for you. Let me know in the comments.