I went to church Sunday.
Like most Sundays.
Thomas, Samuel & Molly sat with us.
We prayed, sang, listened....worshipped.
But my thoughts kept wandering to another mother in our church.
She went to church last Sunday.
Her kids were with her.
That was Sunday. Monday her world began to change. Her 14 year old son got sick. Tuesday he got even more sick. So much so, that he went to the ER. Where he collapsed. He ended up in the Pediatric ICU where he was fighting for his life. On Friday evening, he lost that fight.
As I sat there in church I couldn't help but think about our God, our sustainer. He gives us each day, each moment, each breath. None of us know what the next moment will bring and I was reminded to treasure the moments I have.
I don't know this family very well, but they are in our circles at church and school. We have prayed for them, hoped with them when he seemed to be turning a corner and cried for them when he didn't. We have also learned from them and their extraordinary faith. Through the whole process, they never questioned the goodness of God. They prayed for healing and knew God would give it and when they said goodbye, they knew even then that their prayer HAD been answered....in the ultimate way. They are still sad, they still grieve and they still understand that death is an enemy. But as they stood by the bed in the hospital, the father, who had just lost his eldest son, said to the medical staff there, "Just in case anyone missed it before, we want you to understand that we grieve, but not as those without hope because of what Jesus has done. He makes all the difference."
What faith. The response of the family had already been noticed by many at the hospital. The response of their community had been visibly seen---groups of kids/teens coming to pray. People constantly coming to support the family. One physician said they couldn't explain why something like this happened, but that for the staff, they had seen grace. Faith refined through the fire, through suffering.
It, of course, makes me wonder if mine is so strong.....a question I even hesitate to ask. How would I respond in a similar trial? Could I claim the promises of Christ at that bedside? Am I unshakeable? No......but the God who holds me in his arms is. That is my prayer for their family. That he will continue to hold them tight through the next few days of services, through the upcoming holidays and through every day of the rest of their lives without their son, until they meet him again.
And they will. Because they are not without hope.
Hug your kids, kiss your spouse, pray for this family.