I have a friend who lost a child to violence. His pain is understandably deep. He asked, "Where is my strength?" My initial response, "You are never alone. You have my love and prayers. Truth is: grief hurts worse than anything. Sometimes the waves lessen with time... but sometimes they just keep coming. Stay strong and keep swimming, my friend. Know you're not alone in the ocean. There are a whole bunch of us out here with you... bobbing around like a pack of noisy seals."
That made perfect sense to me. We are here for each other. I know also that I am only human. God is always with us... and that's the better news.
As I write this... another friend's brother is at home dying of cancer. He is a young man with two young sons and a wife who has fought cancer too. It's now just a matter of time until he passes from this life; maybe days, maybe hours. God's got the plan. All I've got to offer are my prayers. I find myself awake in the night, my gut wrenching in grief for them. I'm frustrated. Can I really do nothing more than pray? Perhaps.
There is no doubt that God has us here for each other. Our team was hand picked for this moment in time. We each have a position to play. If we show up ready and willing, God will use us every day. We have to trust He knows where we need to be and what we need to do while we are here.
Truthfully, sometimes I feel uncomfortable when God changes the roster. For instance, I think I make a pretty good point guard, running up the court, finding a pathway to the hoop. I can play that position all day long. It's when God calls me to guard the basket that I get a little freaked out. Inside my brain, my voice can be heard shouting, "I can't do that! I'm not tall enough!" Then I remind myself, God knows my full potential. It is not for me to doubt... but to trust in God. Many Bible stories speak of this kind of faith; David and Goliath, Moses and Noah, just to name a few. They stepped into the game, got the job done and God was glorified and His plan fulfilled.
As I think about the people of the Philippines, living in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, I wonder; does God need more players in the game? I don't think I'm supposed to travel there and help... although... if I had the money... I would. In the meantime... I pray for those who are called to be there. I pray their response will be positive and quick. Now bring it in! Go Team!
So, how on earth do we survive? The ocean is big. It once covered the whole world. Now, separated by land and distance, Facebook is helping me to reach out to my friend who lost his child to violence. My response to his question came from my heart; you're never alone and I am here for you. I meant that. Upon reflection, I realize I left out one very important fact: God made the ocean. God is the ocean! He knows everyone in it. He can see every wave before it hits. He knows exactly where we are at all times and which of our teammates is in the game.
I mean it when I say, I am here for you. If we trust in God we will find peace. He's got the plan.
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (NASB)
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. (NASB)
And one of my personal favorites: 2 Timothy 4:7-8
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (NLT)