Monday, December 20, 2010

Broken Hearts

Several months ago Jim and I agreed to host a community group at our house for the year.  About every two weeks we have a group of people come over to talk about God, life, and whatever else comes up.  When we were first given the list of people in our group, I laughed.  Three of the families in the group were pregnant, and one couple was expecting twins.  I joked that we were going to have our work cut out for us, caring for these families. 

The couple in our group who was expecting twins ended up having them months early.  They were in the NICU riding an incredibly emotional roller coaster for a long time, until the blessed day when they got to bring the boys home.  For a few weeks, this sweet family adjusted to life as a family of five.  Then, one of the babies got sick.  Really sick.  Thomas had a heart condition that worsened, and, after numerous surgeries and procedures, it became really clear that there was nothing else the family could do for him.  It was tragic.  It was nightmarish.  Really, there are no words strong enough to describe what it was like to get the call from Janna that Thomas was going to die that day.  I will never, ever forget that call.

Last Monday Jim and I went to a funeral that should never have been.  It was the first infant funeral I have ever been to, and I am begging God that it will be the last.  As I sat through the service, marveling at the family's strength and faith, I was struck by the fact that the last funeral I attended was my grandfather's.  He died at age 88, after living a long, full, and happy life.  It made Thomas's funeral even more unsettling.  It was so unfair.  It was so wrong.

John and Janna have been a pillar of strength and faith through these past many months.  They don't think they've done anything marvelous.  They don't want attention for their faith.  Janna has dutifully kept a blog of their experience, and deep down, I know she wishes that no one would read it and everyone would just go away.  But it doesn't work that way.  Their grieving has become public and their pain affects everyone.

And really, that's just the way God designed the church.  When one member is wounded, everyone hurts.  When someone is mourning, we all grieve alongside them.  It doesn't always work that way, but it should.  The times in the last five years when I have seen the church work the way God intended it, I have been astounded at what God's love looks - and feels - like, being poured out by others.  It is like nothing else.  I never, ever wish the kind of pain the McGregors have had to endure on anyone.  (I know God doesn't want that for us, either.)  I do, however, want for everyone who lives through that kind of pain to know the kind of love that I have seen poured out on the McGregor family.  I know it pleases our Lord.  And I know that John and Janna's desire, through all of their suffering, to see people come to Christ is what our faith is all about.  I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they will someday hear their God say, "Well done, good and faithful servants."

Thomas's broken heart has left many of us with broken hearts, as well.  I'm praying for God to heal and mend in a way that only He can.

1 comment:

  1. It is through His grace, His calling, our living faith in Jesus Christ, our Baptism, our gift of the new heart and the new human spirit, the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Sacrament of Confession that make us righteous in the eyes of God, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist that gives us the living bread as our assurance of salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit that sanctifies us so we may grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit to become shining lights in the world. How abundant are the gifts of our loving Father!


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