Five years ago today, at 11am in the morning, my older brother was laid to rest at the tender age of 32 years old. It still makes me cry to type those words. Five years, and the pain still comes in waves as fresh as that day, in moments that I least expect it.
I have been listening to a lot of Lou Giglio lately. My new friend Jeanne Slocumb turned me on to him in the last few weeks, and he has tons of videos on You Tube, so I've just been playing them through the day the last week or so on my computer in my office. He said one thing this week that has resonated with me. Basically, we live in a time where we deal with 2 different realities, and they can be hard to reconcile. First, we live in a reality of a broken and fallen world. People hurt us, they hurt themsleves, they get sick, we betray and abandon each other...sin has ravaged our world, and the curse of it is inescapable. But at the same time, we live in the reality that Jesus Christ is Lord and victor over death, and our God is in complete control. Why then, if He is in complete control, does He allow these bad things to continue to happen? Why answer some prayers, and not answer others? Why spare one, and take another? I don't know. My finite brain is not big enough to wrap around an infinite God and His ways. But, Lou said, we know that He will not continue to allow the suffering of this world. And once He comes...He will end it all. But, once He comes, life as we know it now ceases to ever exist again.
It pierced me. And I'm not even sure why.
There are days like today when I can't wrap it all up in a neat little Jesus bow. In fact, I don't even want to wrap it up in a bow. The deal is that we have a God, bigger and greater than we could ever even begin to comprehend. He has a plan, and that plan does not revolve around me, or Chad, or our family. He has a plan to save a world and bring glory to Himself. Why? Because in Him and through Him ALL things were created. Through Him, all things came to be. Without Him, we are less than nothing. Our only hope is to bring glory to God. That's it. It has never, nor will it ever, be about me. It's all about Him. And 5 years ago, His plan to save this world and bring glory to Himself involved needing to take my brother home to be with Him. And so He did. And I trust Him. And, truly, I'm honored He used Chad. It doesn't lessen my pain, but it does make my pain matter. It matters. Chad matters. His suffering was a part of the plan.
So, to my big brother, looking down on us today...I miss you. I long for the day I jump in your arms and see that million dollar smile. I long for the day our family is whole again. I long for the day this ache in my heart and lump in my throat will be gone for good...
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” -Revelation 21:1-5
And I KNOW that day is coming. And in THAT, I rejoice. I find my joy. Until then...