Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Good Man

I've found myself breaking out into tears over a lot of simple things today.  The more everyday and normal a thing, the more golden it seems and teary it's making me.

Our church family lost a good man today....a good man who was a good husband, a good father. 

I'm married to a good man.  I'm feeling how every simple action I'm taking would have been totally different if my good man had been the one to take his last breath today.  The tears that came without warning as I pulled toast out the toaster today were because everything, ev-er-y-THING, would be wrong, off-kilter, horrifying if I were doing it with the ugly knowledge that I was making one piece of toast less than I made yesterday.

I find myself imagining the pain his wife and girls are feeling tonight as they're faced with the sun going down on the day their good man died...and it stops me in my tracks taking my breath away.  How do you sleep in a bed alone with the worst pain you've ever encountered?  How do you face a hamper full of his lovely, dirty clothes?  How do pack your girls' backpacks with school supplies when all you can think about is who won't be walking them down the aisle someday?

He was a good, good man.  He was in the thick of a life that mattered, living humbly and acting righteously.  If his wife and girls are crying that it's not fair tonight, they're right.  It's not fair.  It's not fair at all.  It's horribly wrong.  It's ugly.  It makes me mad.  It's not the way little girls are supposed to go to bed or barely middle-aged wives are supposed to wake up.  They're going to be spending a lot of time with the question, "Why?"

But if I know anything about the husband and Daddy that was taken from them today....I'm pretty sure that I know he's left them with the answer.  As the "why's" echo through their hearts over and over today, tomorrow and as time goes by, I think they're gonna hear other echo's, in a familiar voice, that answer with the truth he left behind.

Their Daddy's voice is going to remind their hearts that....
     ...they still have a good Father who's heart hurts with every tear they cry.
     ...that their Heavenly Father will never leave them.
     ....that all things work together for their good, even ugly things like this.

Her husband's voice will whisper to her that....
     ...God is really good. All. The. Time.
     ...that God will strengthen and carry her and calm her fears.
     ...that God will satisfy her heart with good things.

Because he lived the Gospel.  He lived, in front of them, the power of Christ's redemption over the ravages of sin in the world.  God didn't plan it this way....He didn't create a world where Daddy's hearts give out when they're 38 and deeply loved husbands have to be taken off of life-support less than a week after they left for work healthy and strong. 

God created the Garden of Eden for his beloved humans, He gave them paradise.  God didn't do this.  Sin did it.  The selfish sin in the Garden of Eden started the nasty spiral into death that left us crying, "it's not fair!" today.  Sin is the ultimate cancer that's infected our world.  It leaves us gasping for breath and knowing deep in our souls that something is profoundly broken in our world.  But, God will not be thwarted, His plan will prevail, even as sin has it's way for a while.  Because, as my friend taught his daughters, Christ has conquered death, and stolen the sting of death out of Satan's arsenal.  Oh, death can knock the wind out of believers, it causes us great pain.  But death cannot crush us.  Just as the power of the cross restores our hearts to freedom, it restores our hope with the resurrection.  Sin turned the Garden of Eden into a minefield full of dangers.  The cross paved narrow paths of safety and hope with a guide offering comfort as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

The lost of a good man has left us grieving today.  But that good man would want the very pain his loss caused to be swallowed up by the care of a Good Father.  He would tell us to be mad at sin, not mad at God.  He would want us to see all the ways God is protecting us, even today, from the full ugliness of sin. 

And he wouldn't want the world to stand still, as it feels like it should today.  He would ask us to hold up his beloved family as they stagger under the weight of emptiness.  He would tell us to live deeply our everyday moments with the ones we love. He would expect us to trust our Good Father with the fullness of today as well as the emptiness of tomorrow.  He would want us to savor making every piece of toast...

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