Saturday, January 3, 2009

So It's 2009, Huh?

The year sort of creeped in on us. It hasn't been a great start. It's been sad and frustrating, yet full of the love and encouragement that somehow only tragedy produces.

A million thoughts have been swarming around my head. I'll share a few of them and will try to make this somewhat logical, but I make no promises.

1. Our days are numbered. Scripture tells us that, before we have lived one day, God has ordained them. We are His. He gives us life and breath and all things. That is either a huge source of comfort to you or the cause of much dread and anxiety.

The Bible describes this life as a vapor. As John Piper put it, it is like walking outside on a cold day and exhaling and watching your breath dissapate into the air around you. That is how long this life is in comparison to eternity. It's good to be reminded that we are here today and gone tomorrow. I intend to live accordingly.

2. Our friends and family have been a tremendous source of comfort. I used to think that sitting with a mourning friend or saying a few words of encouragement was a meager offering and not very helpful. But now I see that the prayers and the calls and the emails and especially those that we have seen in person have been of immeasureable worth, particularly to Kris.

3. Death just sucks. And that's the point. It's supposed to. I believe that every situation we encounter on earth is there to teach us about the greater spiritual reality. Like growing from a baby to an adult, to getting married, to having your own babies, to losing a loved one, to ultimately dying yourself, all of these serve as a picture that illustrates lofty, complex spiritual realities that we simply cannot fully grasp.

God "lisps" in his speech to us, as John Calvin put it, meaning He employs "baby talk" much like we do when we are speaking to an infant that can not truly understand what we are saying. So all of these life events are the means God uses to instruct us because we are bascially 2 year olds with extremely limited vocabularies.

We don't comprehend the actual atrocity that sin is or the effect that it has on us. And God tells us that sin brings death to us. But when we encounter death and are able to see the pain, the separation, the trauma, the sense of grief, and the lonliness that results from it, we get a better idea of why God tells us to forsake our sin, and cling to Christ.

4. God, however, has such a unique way of redeeming even the most difficult experiences that we walk through. I think losing a parent easily makes the short list of life's tragedies, but it has brought such a precious closeness to our family. That's not to minimize the heartache at all, but by God's design, we grow closer to Him and each other, not while we sit under blue, cloudless skies on a lovely summer day, but as we huddle together for warmth and support on those dark days when the wind and rain seem determined to knock us down. It's a completely brilliant plan.

That's what I've digested so far. But we've eaten quite a bit this week so I'm sure I'll need to write out a few more ideas just to try to make some sense of all that I've learned. Thanks for putting up with the process. Soon, I hope to be back to my usual posts on the life and times of Asher and Jude :)


Patti said...

Lovely and haunting insights. We really need the continual reminder that we are strangers here in reverent fear.

thelittlefields said...

Beautiful thoughts. Thank you for sharing and putting into words what you are learning. We love you guys and we're praying for you both.

Katelin and Jason Boles said...

you, kris and the kids have been in my thoughts and prayers. you blog was so touching in so many ways. you are a wonderful writter......just the way i remembered.

hilarylarson said...

"But when we encounter death and are able to see the pain, the separation, the trauma, the sense of grief, and the lonliness that results from it, we get a better idea of why God tells us to forsake our sin, and cling to Christ."

We have definitely seen this in our lives and I love the way you phrased it. Thanks for sharing. You & Kris & your family are in our prayers.

Love, hil

susanna said...

Thanks for sharing this Jamie. We love your precious family!

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