I find myself in an interesting state of mind this week. Every summer since 2006 the month of July has been hard. The warm weather, the long days, kids going to camp – all these things remind me of July 31, 2006. That was the day Grant died.
Funny how there are moments when emotions come flooding into my mind and I find myself exactly where I was that week in 2006. I can be heading to the grocery store and have a flash of the last time I took Grant shopping with me two days before he died. Taking Kalindi to camp last week made me physically ill as the week before he died Grant and Kelsey were at AWANA Scholarship camp. Going to the orthodontist is also very hard for me as I had taken Grant that last morning to get something on his braces repaired.
I remember back to those first few weeks and the raw, painful emotions and tears and although the hurt is very real and still present, there is also awe at how the Lord carried us through that time. I wouldn’t be alive today if I were relying on my own strength to get me through that. I am incapable of surviving that kind of tragedy without the Holy Spirit living inside me.
And here we are, four years later, waiting for news on our son in India. We have considered Levi our son ever since we made the decision to pursue adopting him. That is how it is with a parents’ heart is it not? As soon as you are aware you are expecting you begin to love and cherish this new little person that God will be entrusting into your care.
And yet, all those plans and expectations don’t always turn out with the “happy ending” that we assume they will. There are no guarantees in life. I find that I fight on a daily basis to remember that this life is a vapor and that I am a pilgrim on a journey passing through. It is hard sometimes to see yourself as a stranger and alien in this world and yet love and engage with people around you in meaningful ways. We give of ourselves, we love and we lose. That is life here.
Wasn’t that Jesus’ life here too?
He came to this earth – giving up all the advantages of heaven, but not His deity – and lived a human life. Jesus willingly surrendered Himself to live a human life of temptation (and yet without sin!), emotions, loss, disappointment, joy, pain. He made relationships with people, shared in their joy and sorrow, saw with human eyes the ravages of sin on this earth, watched his friends deny Him and run away, was ridiculed and physically injured, and finally gave His life on the cross to pay for my sins.
Aren’t I supposed to model my life after Jesus?
That is easier said than done, isn’t it? After all, do we really want that kind of life? A life of servanthood and sacrifice. A life that thinks of everyone else above their own wants. A life that realizes that this temporary earthly life is not all there is and is only to prepare us for eternity.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I Peter 4:12,13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
So, I guess I am just trying to find my way on a path that seems narrow and treacherous. I am trying to figure out how to live this life for God’s glory, yet with my eye on the finish line, not on the current path. It is hard. At least it feels really hard for me right now. I can honestly say that I didn’t give heaven that much thought before Grant died. Shame on me! And, shame on you, if you do not give more thought to what comes after this brief life. It is easy to get distracted. Here is some advice from the author of Hebrews:
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus looked ahead and thought of the prize as He was running the race. Shouldn’t we do the same? It takes a daily dying to our selfishness and our desire for temporary pleasure and peace to keep our mind on the goal – the reward. It is not easy, and in our human flesh it is impossible. But, as Jesus said in Matthew 19:26:
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”