Recently I received some health news I didn’t want to hear. It wasn’t the answer I had prayed for. And now I’m in a pattern I don’t really care for: medical reports, tests, wait, more tests, wait, schedule surgery, ad nauseum. Many of you have been there or watched someone else go through the process.
But God is good, and He will work all things out for my good. I spent the last few years writing and marketing a book called Strike the Match, Light the Fire. It’s all about a chain reaction that starts with praise, connects you to your faith, so that you pray powerful prayers (God’s power, your prayers), in order to overcome evil and reign and rule on earth and in heaven to come. The week I heard the hated “C” word, I was preparing for a weekend retreat on the subject. It’s as if God was giving me an opportunity to step forward in faith in His Goodness and Love or despair. I’m in His hands.
I am not grieving, but this health situation has pulled times of grief out of my memory banks. The poem below was written on the day that would have been my father’s 71st birthday, but he had died a few months earlier. I got a phone call from family members on his would-have-been birthday telling of the loss of their unborn child. And I cried. For them. For my father. With my mother although she was 2000 miles away.
Sad Thoughts on Dad’s Would-Have-Been Birthday
October 31, 1993 ~ Kathleen Evenhouse
The seed is planted deep in the fertile womb
Where no one can see,
But we know it is there
Sending out delicate shoots
A bud (born from our love)
Wrapped tightly inside itself
Waiting for the right time to blossom in the sun
For all to see.
But the angels came early to take our bud home
Before we could show her our world.
Their loving choice.
It takes Genesis-long days to know for sure.
A sterile scraping of the soil
Could quickly obliterate
The evidence of growth,
The budding of personhood.
We chose to experience the pangs of birth/not birth.
To see this small bud of our love
That will only bloom in our Heavenly Father’s garden.
They lost their baby at twelve weeks. Here’s what the mother told me. “It would have been Dad’s birthday, and we felt angels in the room. A voice said, ‘Maybe they’re here to take our baby home.’ The voice was mine...the words were unexpected.”
Today is Dad’s would-have-been birthday.
We won’t have a cake with 71 candles.
Birthdays lose their meaning in eternity.
I didn’t remain in grief, even though that is where this memory started. After I read the poem, I smiled as I imagined a tiny baby in her grandpa’s arms in heaven—in a place without pain, without the evil of this world, with Jesus! There is light and laughter even in darkness.
Pray with me.
Heavenly Father, our days on earth are but a blink of an eye in the timelessness of eternity, yet your love fills and cradles us for every second of our days here, then for an eternity of seconds. Thank you that in sadness, in grief, in worry, and in pain you are present. Thank you that we live in hope due to your sacrifice, even though we don’t earn or deserve it. Thank you for your peace. Amen
For those of you who are grieving, who are struggling to grab hold of your faith, who are mired in the pit of despair, STOP RIGHT NOW. Praise God. If you can’t think of any words of praise, ask him for help. He’ll put words, a song, a scripture into your head. Say it until you believe it, and your faith will be a roaring bonfire once more.
Choose your focus. There is light and laughter even in darkness. He’s given us all we need.
I love this epic version of “I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger.”