Suddenly I was faced with a Sophie's Choice moment. Both of my girls were stuck, hanging precariously, and needed me to rescue them. In a split second, I had to assess which was the more dangerous scenario, and choose which of my children to save from falling. For various reasons I chose Maggie, which left Eva Rose panicking as she hung from eight foot tall monkey bars. Before I could turn around, she lost her grip, and hit the ground with a thud.
I sat on the pebbles and rocked my screaming daughter, wiping the blood from her busted lip and chin, repeating Mommy's so sorry, Mommy's so sorry, Mommy's so sorry.
I love these girls so much. I would give my life for them. Yet I am so limited. I just can't be everywhere at once. The sad truth is that I can't always save them.
As I rock her, I think to myself, what a blessing to have a heavenly Father who is not limited like I am. A Father who can be everywhere at once. Who is never overwhelmed, who never glances away, who never wonders if he has too many children to care for. Who never misjudges their abilities, or his own. I am so, so thankful that this Father always watches over me, and more so that he watches over my children.
I needed to remember this today.
Last night I received an email that Stephanie is dying. The cancer that has been devouring her brain has finally won. She can't walk anymore. She had her first seizure on Saturday, and they have decided to end the chemotherapy. Her family is letting her go.
And you know, it seems that God has let her go. It seems that for three years now she has been hanging from the monkey bars, begging for him to rescue her, believing that he would, but it seems like he's letting her fall to the ground. He looked away, didn't come through when she needed him, was too busy helping someone else - he just doesn't seem to be catching her.
I read the assigned bible story to my VBS kids this morning: Jesus came to make a place for us in Heaven. He has gone ahead. He's waiting there for us. I promised the children that we will get a new home and new clothes and a new name and some day even a new body, one that will never get sick and will never die. And God has given us his Holy Spirit to remind us of these truths, because he knew we would forget. And as I share this Good News I have to shut down inside lest I burst into tears in front of a roomful of bewildered first graders.
Is God letting Stephanie fall? It feels like he is letting her fall, and letting her husband fall, and letting her children fall. I feel so sad, confused, scared, angry, hopeless.
But I wasn't asked today to teach these precious children how I feel. I was asked to teach them what the Holy Spirit reminds me of, I was asked to tell them what I know.
And what is it that I know?
- I know that God is good.
- I know that not a hair falls from Stephanie's head without the will of the Father.
- I know that he will never leave Stephanie or forsake her.
- I know that all things - even cancer - work together for the good of those who are in Christ Jesus.
- I know that the things of this world are temporary, but that our eyes are on the prize.
- I know that as Stephanie wastes away physically, inwardly she is being made new, day by day.
- I know that Stephanie is being prepared for an eternal glory that surpasses anything this world has to offer, yes, even the love of her family and friends
- I know that Jesus promised that nothing would ever snatch us from his hands - that he will never, ever, ever let us fall.
I have a choice...to believe my feelings, or to believe the one who is Truth, the one who calls me his Beloved.
I'm going with the facts.
And this gives me hope, and I know that our hope will not disappoint us, because the Holy Spirit has been poured all over me and all over Stephanie and all over Eva Rose and over all those who believe the promises of the lover of our souls.
This I know.
Psalm 107:1, Heildelberg Catechism 1; Hebrews 13:5, Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, John 10:29, Song of Solomon 6:3, Romans 5:5