This is Jane’s story. And this is a story about love.
You see, even in the midst of tragic events and dark moments, some things will never happen in this life.
“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 mourned and grieved myself. And I struggled to make sense of it. So many people loved Jane.
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.
In ICU and on a ventilator, Jane’s Bilateral Pneumonia and weak heart made her critical.
A sick feeling came over me. And I paced in my home office, praying out loud. Tearful. Calling out again to the Lord to spare Jane’s life.
Also, I quickly 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
But the hard 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!
A few hours later, I went with my daughter and son-in-law to Jane’s house. Several friends cared for her two small daughters and baby boy while family members grieved at the hospital.
I saw 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.
Why, Lord? Why, Jane?
“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. Days and nights seemed robotic. Yet, life went on. As the realization 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. So 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.
Jeremiah describes the feeling of being made to “grind my teeth on gravel” (Lamentations 3:16). What a low, dark place.
Imagine something so horrific, it makes you grind your teeth on gravel.
“My soul is absent of peace,” he said. And “I have forgotten what happiness is; my endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord” (verse 18).
When it seems the writer 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 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” (Google).
Wait a minute. When pigs fly? When was the last time I saw a pig fly? It’s 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. But it’s also a reality the same never applies to the Lord’s steadfast love and mercy coming to an end. That’s where our hope lies.
Jane’s Story and Memory
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! We love you!
© 2014 by Karen Friday, All rights reserved
*Post originally published in 2014. This article is dedicated to Jane’s story and her family and friends. Today marks the 4th anniversary of her leaving this world, 12/12/13.
Image layout and design by Adobe Spark.
*All Scripture ESV.
July 11, 2014 at 8:29 am | Uncategorized