Some of us (mostly guys) remember some tough boyhood days on the playground or in the neighborhood when we got into a little skirmish with another kid and then…WHAM, out of nowhere, we got suckerpunched. It hurt like crazy, but the worst part about it is that we never saw it coming.
Well…that’s kind of how its been with me lately regarding Susana and the grief that is still there. I’ll be going along in my day, everything will be relatively fine, and than WHAM, out of nowhere, I get suckerpunched with grief. And it really hurts…as if somebody really did punch me in the gut. And the worst part is that I can never really see it coming. Like this morning, I was in the shower brushing my teeth and then WHAM! The reality just hits me like a ton of bricks all at once that my daughter is gone and she is not coming back. It literally hurts my stomach when this happens…and it often leads to the shedding of tears. Same thing happened yesterday. I was pulling into Pet Smart to buy a leash for our dog, and as I parked the car…WHAM! I got that suckerpunch again, my gut hurt, my heart was sad, and the tears flowed like a river.
But…just like a suckerpunch doesn’t leave you completely defeated, but rather just kind of brings you to the ground for a brief moment, so too is it for me when I get slammed by grief. Its a moment…well maybe its a fifteen minute moment, but nonetheless, it does not defeat me for the day. I don’t get paralyzed by it. I am able to go about the rest of my day and enjoy the things that the Lord has given me. But its just for those moments that it really hurts.
This hurt and pain, that is acute as all can be within those times of being suckerpunched, is what just keeps my focus on the Lord and my complete longing for His return to fulfill His promise of making all things new. And the truth is that my longing for Him to come and bring about our complete redemption is not just so that I can see Susana again, but truly is just the longing to be done away with this sin sick, fallen, and cursed world in which we live. I have seen its effects up close and personal and I just can’t stand it anymore. I can’t wait until the Lord comes to redeem all that belongs to Him. No, I’m not stuck and in some place where I don’t care about anything here because I just want to be with the Lord. Well…to a degree, it is true that my heart is not stuck anywhere here in this world, but rather is focused on heavenly things. That’s the way that all of us citizens of Heaven should be, knowing full well that this is not our real home. But, while the Lord still has me here on this earth, I am not being rendered useless because my heart grieves too much. On the contrary, I just want to be more about the Father’s business in sharing His love, truth, mercy, and promise of Heaven with those who shall call upon His name.
And that is why we are in full swing getting ready to move back to Haiti in a month. Our race continues – a race of faith to bring much glory and honor to God. He has burdened our hearts for the orphaned and abandoned children of Haiti, and we are excited to be able to get back down there to live among them and to daily share with them the hope which we have in Jesus. We are busy throughout the days packing things up and making our preparations. I also have been very busy traveling to share about our mission work with many churches. I have been to Boston and Kentucky in the last week, and this weekend I am going to Alabama to speak at a few churches. We are excited to see how the Lord is providing for the ministry that He has called us to. God is growing the support for the orphanage through other church partnerships. Our child sponsorship program is up to 44 sponsorships! We have been able to rent a house for 2 years for the woman who is caring for 7 orphaned children. We were also able to buy her beds and furniture for the home. She is so excited! It is exciting to see how the Lord is moving.
And so, we press on and make His great and glorious name known. For we know that His love is constant and His promises are real. And I am clinging to those promises, most of which are promises not for this life, but more importantly our life to come. His word never promises smooth sailing in this life, but He does promise eternity with Him that will be perfect. He promises that those who love Him will live with Him forever in a perfect place. He does promise that there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more shame, no more sickness, no more cancer, no more death, and no more sin! O how my heart longs for His coming.
Just in this past week, I know four people who have lost loved ones unexpectedly. Upon hearing the news of these people, I have wept for them and prayed for them. I know all too well about the pain that it brings. And it makes me grow in my hatred towards satan, towards the fallenness of this world, and towards death. And that is why I can’t wait until the Lord comes. Because one day, and I think soon, death will be a memory and tears will be no more. The verse in Revelation that plays in my mind all the time is when Jesus states, “Behold, I am making all things new.” O, how I long for that day to come.
There is just too much pain here. My voice has joined with the tens of thousands who have also lost loved ones and have sent that all piercing one word cry up to the throne room of God…”Why?” And most of us will not be given that answer on this side of Heaven, but rather will just hear the soft voice of the One who still bids us to come. In the midst of my pain, hurt, fear, longing, and grief, He quietly says, “Trust me. I am making all things new.”
And so it is just a matter of time until all things will be made new. But time for me is painful. Yes, I sometimes look at it and am able to say, like my wife, “only 15 more minutes.” But other times that clock seems to drag on forever. 2Peter tells us that the Lord is not slow in keeping His promises. And that a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
I know for me here on this earth, one day sometimes feels like a thousand years. I just pray with all my heart that for Susana, who is in the presence of Jesus, a thousand years will only seem but a day. I miss her terribly down here. I can see the clock tick, and with every tick I can be reminded of how much longer it may be until I get to see her again. But I pray that for Susana, all of the years that will pass here on this earth without her, that for her it will only have seemed like one day in which we have been apart. Perhaps that what 2Peter means when he states that, to the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. But, like the words to the ever famous Matt redman song that is now a part of Susana’s story, until that day comes…”Still, I will praise You. Still, I will praise You Lord.