Saturday, May 14, 2011

I thought the storm was over...

I thought the storm was over. Yesterday, we had a storm surge. My dad’s brother, Stanley, passed away very unexpectedly. The family is in shock, he was in great health. With everything we’ve been through over the past few months, I think one of the hardest things for me is to watch my family go through this. I don’t have any doubt where my Uncle Stanley is. I’m not sad for him, but my heart breaks for my family. Even the strongest of people become exhausted. 

When my Aunt Esther passed away a few years ago (dad’s sister), I remember Uncle Stanley shouting, “Hallelujah! She’s in Glory!” I also remember dad later commenting, “I’m not crying for her, I’m crying for us.”

For obvious reasons, the brevity of life has been on my mind quite a bit lately. We never know when we’re going to leave this world and face eternity. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go; regardless of age, or health, or our future plans. Here on earth, it’s so hard to let go. Change can be scary. We become accustomed to having our loved ones around and take comfort in the security and stability of their presence (and what a blessing it is for God to allow us the privilege of loving them). The thought of not having them nearby, to no longer have the opportunity to call them to ask a question or tell a story, or enjoy their company and share their life stories, is overwhelming to say the least, even knowing that in time, we can see them again. Time can be scary too.

When Paxton wakes up hungry and is ready to eat, he’s ready to eat right then. Like babies do, he’ll frantically try to pull whatever is close to his mouth in to try to satisfy his hunger, whether it’s a finger, a burp cloth, or maybe even his whole fist. His instinct to satisfy that hunger is the priority, and he’s not capable of being patient just yet.  When we lose a loved one, it means our lives will never again be the same, and we will be separated from their presence as long as we’re in this world. It means things have instantly changed and we have no choice or control in the matter.  As a result of losing those we love, we have that overwhelming desire for continuity and stability. There is no way on earth to actually satisfy that desire, no matter what we try to grasp around us. All we can do is cling to the hope that we can see them again in Heaven, because we certainly have that hope. The hard part is that we, like infants, have trouble waiting. We see earth as concrete and “forever in Heaven” seems so abstract and distant….. but it’s so much closer than we even realize. One day, Paxton will understand that when mommy says the food is coming, he’s gonna be able to make it until the food comes. As hard as it to wrap our earth-bound minds around it, we can make it until Heaven comes for us.

I understand more and more why I have heard people throughout my life say they were homesick for Heaven. I used to always think, “but there’s so much more I want to do here first!” While I still have many things I want to do here on earth, I truly do feel more and more homesick for Heaven. I long for my baby girl and the family that has gone on before. I used to think I wouldn’t want to leave my family and friends here on earth, but the fact is that for those who are ready, I wouldn’t even have time to miss them because there is no such thing as time as we know it in Heaven. I long for stability, peace and comfort. Scripture says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8). Same. He doesn’t change. I long to be in a place where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes,” and “There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). I'm so tired of tears. 

There are moments my weary heart cries, “Oh, Come, Lord Jesus.” But then I feel an overwhelming sadness as I think of those who wouldn’t be ready. I feel compelled now to ask, whoever is following my blog, are you ready? If not, what is holding you back? You have a Heavenly Father who Loves YOU. The things in this life are not the ultimate goal. When “bad” things happen, God isn’t toying with you, He has a plan for you. “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). God is not self-seeking, God’s love is perfect. I could never emphasize that enough. He has freely given the gift of eternal life in Heaven… what could possibly be a legitimate excuse for turning it down?

I truly don’t know how anyone could make it through the storms we’ve experienced over the past several months without believing in God’s amazing Love and accepting Him as Christ and Savior. I don’t know how I could possibly survive without trusting that He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. He wants us to have hope and a future. I know it’s easy to just see the storm clouds, but seeing what is beyond the dark clouds is where faith comes in.

I know there is a Heaven, and it’s not really so far away. I know that God has made a place for His children there. I know my baby girl has met her great Uncle Stanley and he has been reunited with his sister, parents, and many other loved ones. Hallelujah, He’s in Glory! Being on this side of Heaven certainly has its trials, and letting go is never easy, but thank God Heaven is real and we have hope for an eternal life surrounded by absolute love.

I want to rejoice with you there. Are you ready?

Heavenly Father,
I’ve experienced your amazing peace and comfort during loss. I pray you would allow all of Uncle Stanley’s loved ones to experience your peace and comfort during this time. We rejoice in knowing he’s in Your presence, but our hearts ache here. I pray that you would send the Comforter to those hurting and grieving our loss on earth. Please allow another glimpse of Heaven for this family, Lord, and allow us the strength to keep moving forward. I trust your plans for us, even though right now it’s hard to understand your timing. At this moment, it’s hard to even know the words to pray, but I trust you, Lord. Even when I feel like everything is crashing in, I trust you. Please speak to whoever may be reading these words, Father. Prompt them to search their hearts and help them find the joy of knowing your love, your peace, your strength, and your comfort. Thank you, Father, for loving me.

For anyone who had the pleasure of knowing my Uncle Stanley, please feel free to share your favorite memories of him.


Lara said...

He taught us so much, how to pray, love God, love others, and to enjoy what God has given us here on earth. I couldn't have asked for a better dad. I know I will see him again. Praise the Lord!

Erin said...

Lifting your family up in prayer. I can't remember if I had ever met your uncle, but I know that I will one day. Yes, he is in Glory!

Holly said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your uncle. I never knew before losing Carleigh how homesick for heaven you can really be. And I don't know either how anyone can make it through such trials without God. He has been my rock. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.