My brother-in-law passed today in the early hours of a very gray dawn. I kissed Dan’s cold forehead and sipped coffee his father offered. Tasting like sand in my dry throat, I drank it anyway, accepting the cup because I knew it was about his dad needing something to do.
Dan was forty-nine years old. Neuroblastoma damaged his brain and took his life. My mind tried to make sense of seeing Dan’s father weep over his son. He said, “See you up there, kid.” It all seemed very backwards, very wrong.
It IS wrong. My sister-in-law lost her husband and my nephew, his father. It is wrong and broken. This world is broken and cancer is one result of that brokenness, striking indiscriminately, impartial to tender ages and lives cut short.
How can we be restored to what is right, what is new, what is whole? How can we avoid that kind of despair which deceitfully convinces us not to hope? How can we come through the valley, able to rise in faith to a place where joy can still be found?
We are redeemed at the cross. We are justified by faith. We are restored by grace. We have real hope in a future of eternal glory when we stop trying to satisfy and secure ourselves, instead leaning entirely on Jesus. Hope that still stands when our worst fears have come to reality. When we are in the valley, like my sister-in-law and nephew, hope brings us through.
Grace be with you, my friends.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23