last night, in the wee smalls of the dusky hours before morning, i woke up suddenly out of the blue. for once, it wasn’t because aveline was awake. she was silently and peacefully asleep, her gentle breathing a comforting rhythm, her tiny body beautiful against the periwinkle crib sheet. but i was gently awakened in the silent night. awake and alone, i picked up my phone and it was then i realized why i had been pulled out of sleep. so there i was, in those wee smalls between a sleeping husband and a sleeping baby, texting my dear friend shanley. she was driving all night just to get home. she’d received that call. you know the one. the one where they say, please come home. this is it.
and so i prayed, and i pondered those words in psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way. it felt like the earth was giving way. shanley’s little cousin, max, had relapsed with leukemia just days before. it felt like the mountains were falling into the heart of the sea. it felt like the summer of 2004, when another dear friend’s little boy had passed away from a brain tumor. i could only keep asking God for strength and for comfort. i could only keep asking God to please let shanley get home in time to see max.
i woke up this morning with a heavy heart. i pleaded for comfort for the family. i pleaded for strength for the family. i was holding my own little girl when i got the text, max doesn’t feel pain anymore.
and the tears came. the tears came, and they overflowed my eyes and ran down my cheeks onto my little girl. she looked up at me, and she cried too. i held her close. i held her tightly. she fell alseep holding on to me, and i did not want to put her down.
i don’t understand these things. but i do know that max is running now. max is running around heaven with Jesus. there is no sickness, there is no hurt, there are no barriers between max and his papa God.
i kept remembering that summer seven years ago. i remembered how i listened to andrew peterson’s song faith to be strong over and over and over again.
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it’s hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong
Give us hearts to find hope
Father, we cannot see
How the sorrow we feel can bring freedom
And as hard as we try, Lord, it’s hard to believe
So, give us hearts to find hope
and just as i was remembering that, an andrew peterson song started playing on the worship channel on the TV behind me. God was sending me a new song for today. a new song that i’d never heard, a new song that touched the hurting places in my soul.
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for…
‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
‘Cause He promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of this chaos baby,
I can dance with you
therefore we will not fear. there’s nothing left to fear.