© 2014 by Karen Friday
In the midst of tragic events and dark moments—some things will never happen in this life. Never.
“You’re going to have to explain this to me. I don’t understand why this happened.”
One of the many pleas spoken to me following the death of a young woman in our church. Jane was only twenty-eight, leaving behind a husband and three small children including an infant boy born only days before.
Explain it? How? I was mourning myself. Struggling to make sense of it.
Earlier that day…my husband Mike, pastor of our church, sent a troubling text to my phone, “Pray! Doing chest compressions on Jane.” I went numb. Jane was in ICU on a ventilator with Bilateral Pneumonia and a weak heart.
A sick feeling came over me. I paced in my home office, praying out loud. Tearful. Calling out again to the Lord to spare Jane’s life. I forwarded the text to many friends and people in our church family who had been praying, visiting the hospital, and sitting with Jane’s husband Trey.
The news came. “She didn’t make it. Jane’s in heaven.” Sitting now, I tried to grasp the harsh reality of the nightmare. Is this real? It can’t possibly be real!
I went with my daughter and son-in-law to Jane’s house. Her two small daughters and baby boy were being cared for by several friends while family members grieved at the hospital. I had seen Jane’s children during her short illness, but this time was different. So different. The girls will never see their mother again in this life and the new-born son will never know her. He will never be held, never kissed, never cuddled by his mother.
“Lord, help me to trust that you know what you’re doing,” I whispered in my spirit, as tears welled up. “Why, Lord? Why Jane?
Weeks passed after the funeral. Life went on. As reality set in, I tried to find comfort. I knew King David and other Psalmists lamented over loss. Amidst hardships they found hope in the faithfulness of the Lord. I turned to the book of Lamentations seeking insight and understanding.
The writer’s anguish is almost beyond the point of no return—affliction, darkness, desolation, taunts, and bitter treatment. He describes the feeling of being made to “grind my teeth on gravel” (Lamentations 3:16). This is a low, dark place. Imagine something so horrific—it makes you want to grind your teeth on gravel. “My soul is absent of peace,” he said. “I have forgotten what happiness is; my endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord” (verse 18).
When it seems the writer has reached wits’ end, he proclaims, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope; The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to and end” (Lamentations 3:21-22).
The adverb “never” means “at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever.” Synonyms for “never” include: not at all, certainly not, not for a moment, under no circumstances, on no account, not in a million years, when pigs fly, when hell freezes over.
Wait a minute. When pigs fly? When was the last time I saw a pig fly? Not going to happen. Neither will hell freeze over. The steadfast love of the Lord will cease when pigs fly. The mercies of the Lord will come to an end when hell freezes over. That will never, never, never, ever happen.
It’s a reality Jane’s baby son will never be held by his mother. It’s also a reality the same never applies to the Lord’s steadfast love and mercy coming to an end. Jane’s earthly life came to an end. One day so will mine. And yours. What’s enduring? The Lord’s love and mercy will last forever!
In Loving Memory of Jane Sharpe Craddock, 1985-2013
How we miss you! Every time I revise and edit this article, my heart skips a beat. Even now. In this moment. My chest is heavy. Do I hit the publish button? I want people to know about God’s steadfast love. You are in the presence of Jesus forever. Never forgotten here!
July 11, 2014 at 8:29 am | Uncategorized