I had to edit this article. One of the comments on this article that was placed on my blog, a story of parents who lost their child, need to be part of it. Please read their story at the end.
I believe in living life to the fullest! I also believe that life as we know it here on earth is not all there is.
Every time I visit an ICU I am reminded that life is short, some time’s life is brutally short! Small children slowly dying while their parents are crying and praying, young men and women who’s life’s ends in a tragedy. People in pain, calling out to God for miracles. I have witnessed
some of these miracles and I rejoiced! Often I had to sit with devastated family and friends when the child, partner, parent or friend they had prayed for died. I don’t try to give answers because I don’t understand. I cry with them, but more, I cry with God. More than ever, in these times I experience the love of God as intense, overwhelming and tender. Sometimes I experience the pain of a loving Father who wants to take us in His arms and hold as close, but who are pushed away with the demands that He has to heal, has to make everything whole again. In the painful normality of death here on earth God wants to be there with us, comfort us and share in our pain. Death is sure, at one stage in our life we are all going to die. Nobody leaves this life alive! We know this and yet when somebody we love are dying, we call on God for a miracle.
The wonderful thing is that we may call on God for a miracle, we can beg cry and even fight with God, as we would do with someone we love. Our responsibility is to be honest with God. To acknowledge what we see, to acknowledge our pain, longing and our desires. To acknowledge that we are at wits end. It is not our responsibility to believe somebody “healed”. Or pray somebody “healed”. Or faith somebody “healed” or renounced the reality of the situation “healed”. We have the privilege to run into God’s arms and HOPE. It is here, close to God where we will find the courage to live, whether God answer with a miracle or without.
God rarely make sense to me, but I experience His love often. I do not understand when, why and how God heals, but I love Him. I’m not afraid of dying, I am just afraid that those I love would die.
Some time’s I long to be with God and then I read what Paul wrote to the Philippians in Philippians 1
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
I once had a privilege to pick up a old man walking on the road from Johannesburg to Randfontein. He told me he was 78 and that he was walking the 60km to go and visit his mother. On the question of her age he responded by saying that they do not really know. She does not have papers and was born at a time when things like that did not matter. But they believe that se must be near or over a hundred years old. Then he said “She longs to go to God, but He is very busy and did not have time to come and fetch her yet”
My Grandmother a woman of 86, also longs to be with her maker. Her whole life consist of talking to God and about God. (And I must confess talking about me). It is very difficult for her to move around and she spend almost all her time in her small room, praying that God will come and take her home. Yet she lives to see another day while another young mothers who loves God, dies. We cannot choose our time, neither the way. We are not masters of our fate, we have faith in our Master. What we can choose is to live today close to God and use each moment to love those close to you. There will come a time when each one of us will die, that is un-avoidable normal.
A true story:
We know the pain of ICU. You sat with us for three days. Three of the longest days of my life. Seeing my child dying slowly. The people storming in, claiming God's healing, telling us that if we belief God would heal our precious child. That it is not God's will that our child would die, but the work of Satan. People who told us to rejoice because God said to them that our child would be healed.
Well, he died on the 28th of February 2008 after three days of hell. Not only did we experienced the pain of the event, but my wife has never again set foot in a church after that experience. She is angry with God, she believed everything that was said to her. She believed that he would be healed. She believed that the Christians who spoke so earnestly and with so much conviction was so spiritual and she acted as if our son would not die. God would surely not allow this to happen.
Paul in these times you helped me to keep my sanity, to hope, but more to see a loving God. A God that is real, a God that is with us in our pain.
On the 28th of February I did not only loose my son, I also lost my wife. She has lost her faith, her God and her reason to life.
When I think back to those tree days of hell. I wish I had chased away all those people who came with their easy answers. Those Spiritual Christians who stole my wife's faith. I AM ANGRY!
I know today that they could not handle the pain, that their fear for death was so big that they had to invent this god.
Today I must confess that the pain and the longing is still there, but I worship a holy God who is with me in my pain.
Paul thanks for your blog. This is my reality check. I will forward this article to as many people possible. I was there, this make sens. Pleas pray for my wife,
A broken father, a broken husband.