I apologize in advance if this is a rambling post. My thoughts about the events of the past week are still a bit jumbled.
I’m still having trouble putting into words the emotions we’ve all experienced this week since my brother’s twenty-year-old son Joby was killed in a terrible accident last Sunday. Disbelief is a big one. Last week we were all in shock, and there’s something good about that. You just keep doing the next thing, even when that thing is saying goodbye when there’s a closed casket, and you think somehow it’s all a big mistake and he’s going to come walking through the door any minute. Knowing Joby, he might have tried to pull a prank like that.
This week the finality is setting in. I used to wonder why people would say that someone is “gone.” Why don’t they just say the person died? But now, as I’m experiencing what it’s like to lose someone close, someone young, someone so full of promise and joy and hope, I understand why “gone” is such a good word to describe this feeling of missing someone who isn’t here any longer. Never mind that he’s in a better place. Down here on earth, “gone” is a sad, lonely word that pretty much sums up what we are feeling right now.
I wish there were a way around the valley of the shadow of death, but apparently there’s not. We were meant to walk through it. And while we’re walking, life keeps on going on. Kids go back to school, there are meals to be made. Laundry’s still waiting for me.
It’s made me think long and hard about what I believe about God. I know He is loving and kind and has our best interest in mind. I know He is ultimately sovereign. I know this place is not our home. I know these things. I want to be willing to trust Him as I watch helplessly while my brother aches. I want to trust that He knows what He is doing when I see Joby’s brother Josh, and Josh's new wife, trying to figure out what life is going to be like now. But sometimes, like the father who came to Jesus, I find myself saying, “Help me overcome my unbelief!”
Through all this, I have to keep coming back to what I know of the simplicity and beauty and depth of God’s love and care. I cling to the truth found in passages I've known for a lifetime, and feel their familiar, comforting words wash over me:
Psalm 23: Thou art with me.
Psalm 121: I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
The Lord’s Prayer: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
And this, affirming everything I know and believe, The Apostles’ Creed. Right now I'm especially thankful for the last line. I believe in the life everlasting.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Your prayers and words of comfort and concern have meant so much, and I believe they are what have been holding our family up during this difficult time. I am so thankful for each of you.