Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sorrowful, Yet Rejoicing

I visited my mom this past Friday (9/29). We went out to visit friends and to do what Hunters do so well...shop. When I left, she gave me a collection of "stuff" I had given my father over the past many years for birthdays and Christmases. As you would expect from me, the collection included some "odd" stuff...a singing, animated Bing Crosby, a robot beagle, a couple of stuffed Golden Retrievers...I mean stuffed "toys." Anyway, I am glad to have these of course. They remind me of a lot of great memories with my father, while at the same time reminding me that he is gone and that it will be a while before I see him again.

There is, of course, sadness that he is gone, but intertwined with that is a gratitude for having had him, for the way in which he passed without having to endure years of being an invalid, and for the assurance that I have that he is alive somewhere else celebrating a life free of ICU's, dialysis, and heart procedures.

My mementos are both a reason to be sad, but I thank God that with that sadness, there is much more to be grateful for. The day of my father's funeral, I never would have believed God's ability to mix great sorrow with great gratitude, but that is what I felt as God gave me the privilege of celebrating my father's life publicly by officiating at his funeral. Grief was present, but gratitude was the theme.

Why am I waiting so long to put these observations into words? Well, part of the reason is that as I anticipate participating in the Lord's Supper tomorrow morning at church, I was thinking about something being sorrowful (remembering Christ's suffering and death), and being grateful (remembering that His death accomplished the most amazing thing in my life!). Tomorrow I will remind my flock that you can be sorrowful yet rejoicing, because Christ's sacrifice did and does what no other religious system can do.

It provided the infinitely applicable sacrifice, that enabled God's just nature to deal with our rebellion and imperfection by placing it on Christ, so that Christ's perfect standing before Him could be "accounted" to us given us forgiveness, access to God's own divine Spirit and the truth of His word, adoption into his family, and...well, wonders too many to declare as the psalmist says in Psalm 40:5. Look around and be grateful...even if circumstances are rotten, God isn't, and remember that His most often repeated promise in ALL of Scripture is NOT, trust me and I'll make it easy, but "no matter what...I will be WITH you!" Now that's worth celebrating!

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Special memories of the ones that have gone on before us come at the most unexpected times; however, are always welcome. It has been 22 years in November since I lost my mother and her presence is with me at the most important and surprising times. Today, Eddie and I are in Cary, NC visiting one of the most precious and beautiful little girls in the world. As we arrived last night, she and her parents and her dog were sitting on the steps waiting for our arrival and as I got her from her dad, she closed her little arms around me and said,"Grandmaw, I yuv you." The trials and problems that I left in Denmark suddenly melted away and i knew that God is always with us and that even though my mother is n ot here that a part of her will always live on in each of my children and my grandchild. AS I look into the eyes of this little angel, I know that God is going to take care of each concern that I left in Denmark and that He will sustain me through each trial that I face. Afterall, it is wonderful to be a Grandmaw!! Thank God that when he gave us children, that he also gave us grandchildren. WHAT A GIFT. THANK YOU, GOD, FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY.