Jesus I know this is a hard topic for many to discuss, and it’s hard for me to write about because I struggle with this. I have seen some close friends lose loved ones and I see the pain that comes from that. All I ask is that you show us how you love us, especially through times of immense pain.
I went to see the Shack again with a friend who hasn’t seen it, I personally love the story and would see it again. This time however I was focusing more on the father and his pain for losing his little girl (not a huge spoiler alert, I think that’s on the back of the book jacket and it’s just part of the story). The friend I was with lost his brother many years ago in a plane crash in the snowy mountains of Oregon. I still remember seeing his face for days, weeks and even months after it. He was not the same person I knew, he had been changed, but he still kept hope alive in his heart, even as he was honest and shared his pain. He is a happy go lucky guy, always sees the good in others and looks for something positive in all things. His brother was a devout man of God, gave up much of his free time to love others, so I am sure a lot of the questions he had for God were why was he taken from his family and friends, those who loved him dearly.
Last year I had the pleasure of falling in love with this sweet baby, his name is Kade. I learned about him through Facebook, and there was just something about him I need to know more about, so I followed his battle with cancer and I have gotten to know his family to some degree. His mother and grandma have been very kind to me, even taking time out of their pain to pray for me in mine. I learned a lot through the eyes of this child as well as those who knew him and held him close every day of his short life. Kade lost his battle to cancer last year, and I was torn apart when I heard the news. I prayed for him daily, I hung one of his smiling pictures on my door to remind me to pray for him, and I had a deep faith that the cancer would be freed from his cells and he would grow up to be a healthy little boy. I even talked to his family about attending his graduation one day, I had more than the faith of a mustard seed, I truly believed God would heal him…but that wasn’t the plan. I still miss him today, which is weird for some to hear and hard for them to understand. I never got to meet him, I never held him, and my friendship with his mother and grandmother is simply through Facebook and online. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t changed by him, not in the slightest! I could post picture after picture of him and honestly he always showed joy on his face, and I believe that’s because it was from deep inside his heart. He made people happy just being near him, or seeing him on Facebook. When I think of what cancer does to adults I know who have had to deal with it, and the effects of the chemo and other treatments, I know there is pain involved. But I ask you this, does that look like a child suffering in pain, or one just happy to be alive in this moment? I learned to appreciate life a little more by following Kade’s story, even as I heard the painful news of his life here on Earth ending. But those of use who believe in Jesus, also truly believe he is with him now. The pain is gone, and the joy he has is now multiplied by forever…with Jesus.
Not back to the underlying message of today, and missing those we have lost. When my friend and I left the theater I was consumed with thoughts of his brother, and how this movie may have stirred up painful memories of loss. It was honestly hard to talk to him afterwards, I was pretty choked up and emotional. But as I drove home I was praying once again to Jesus, why do we lose the innocent among us. What came to me, and it’s a something I will be thinking about a lot for days to come, is maybe we are looking at it backwards. Maybe the question isn’t what we have had taken from us, but more about what has been given to those we lost? This world is not our home, this world can be a dark and evil place, and I don’t pretend to know all that God can see nor do I understand why things happen the way they do. But as a believer in eternal life in Heaven, and a follower of Jesus, I asked the question. Maybe we should focus on what was given to my friend’s brother, and what was also given to sweet baby Kade…eternal life in Heaven dancing daily with Jesus. That is an amazing thing to consider, and while we still feel the pain of that loss, perhaps a small bit of comfort can be found in that idea. I do not know, I have never really lost anyone really close to me other than one of my favorite aunts. Death has not been a part of my story, but one day it will, and I hope I can draw closer to God in those times and focus on what he has given to the one I have lost, rather than what he has taken from me.