The past few days have been perfect. Story and I have been soaking up the fun and the sun. No longer chained to a rigid schedule, we've enjoyed sleeping later and having some cuddle time with daddy before he leaves for work. I've cooked breakfast every day- "eggy cheese" is Story's favorite. We've walked and gone to the pool. Yesterday, we met up with friends for an afternoon play date. The happiness and contentment of these days has overwhelmed me. Yesterday, when I journaled during my quiet time, all I could do was rejoice in the day that the Lord has made. Today's journal entry was a contrast.
Last night, I fell asleep watching reruns of "Murder, She Wrote" on Netflix. But I awoke and checked my phone before getting in the bed. I had a message from a recently graduated student, whom Andy and I know through BSF. The message said that another boy we know through BSF had been struck by a vehicle while riding his bike. The message said to tell Mr. Wermel what had happened and asked us to pray. In my sleepiness, I didn't understand the severity of the situation. Andy was in the garage working on the Jeep, and I didn't want to disturb him. I figured that the boy would be pretty banged up, probably have some broken bones, but that he would be okay. I said a quick prayer for him as I trotted off to wash my face, and then I went to bed. This morning, I checked my phone and saw these words- "he didn't make it."
Today is a beautiful day. Story had eggs and some fresh raspberries and then we played on the living room floor together, the sun streaming in through the blinds, flooding the room in gorgeous light. But there's a weightiness to this morning that I didn't feel yesterday when I basked in summer blessings. I've been struck by the reality that a boy Andy had a chance to talk to about death, heaven and the eternal kingdom now knows more than we do about those mysteries. It was only weeks ago that our Revelation study asked us to consider what happens to believers after they die. How could anyone have known that this fourteen-year-old would experience the answers to those questions so soon?
There's a part of me that wants to escape this reality. I want to go to the outlets and shop for a swimsuit for our vacation. I want to go outside and mow the grass. I want to go to the pool and splash around. I want the sounds of summer to wash over me and take this reality from my mind. But I chose to sit on the sofa and approach my King, instead.
I wrote in my journal that Revelation was such a BIG, HEAVY, REAL book to me now. I wrote that it "keeps on knocking." I know that it is really Him- He keeps on knocking. Knocking on my life and reminding me that there is more than laundry and shopping lists and trips to the pool. Sure enough that's a part of the reality, but there's more, and He won't let me forget it. I opened my devotional that I received as a good-bye present from Hill Country, and I literally gasped when the reading for June 8 came from Revelation 3:14-22. I opened my Bible, and my eyes went straight to verse 20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock!"
Wait a minute. I don't want to open the door to a King who lets children die. I moved from the sofa to the kitchen, trying to clear the breakfast dishes and my mind. But fear gripped my heart. The rest of that June 8 devotion is about Refiner's fire- it's about how He allows tragedy, but that He's sovereign over it, letting it all work together so that His suffering servants can be a part of building His Kingdom. That knocking is an accompaniment to the rebuking, the disciplining, the suffering that comes with being His.
Then I don't want to be a builder of that kingdom. I don't want to be a part of it if it means that You'd strip me of everything. He was their child.
But, who can deny that there's more to this life than the veneer of summer sunshine? Why do we love it so much, if not for the fact that so much of life is its opposite? I know that I am basking in it because of the hardships of the year- my own tiny sufferings. God forbid that I choose to believe that getting away from the suffering is the point of it all. He knocks so that I won't make that choice.
I believe that His original design didn't include any of this suffering. I believe that He will one day restore His creation to that design. No more suffering, no more tears. And in the meantime? There are vacations and impossibly carefree days. There are also text messages that say "he didn't make it." This is the reality in which I live. This is the reality in which Story lives. And I can't keep her close to me for any longer than He sees fit. So what am I to do?
Open the door. Open the door to the King of Glory- the only One with the Authority to set into action the final, good plans. And allow the reality that there is more to fear than the death of my child to become the anchor of my life. There is a darkness, an eternal separation, that follows rejection of Truth. This is the greatest loss. This is the loss that He stops at nothing to prevent. He allows suffering in the lives of His people, and uses it to spur them on to tell this Truth.
In truth, I find this terrifying. None of it is easy, but all of it is real. So while I will still thank Him for these sunny mornings, and will fully take in the simple pleasures, I've asked Him to help me arrange my life according to His authority. A slain Lamb, a suffering Servant, a King of Kings. One day I will see You face to face, just as this boy has done today. God willing, together, we will proclaim that You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power and praise- just as we studied in this book we call Revelation.