Some things are just too deep.
Last fall, when we realized we were facing something serious with Steve’s health, we turned to the most serious prayer-people we know: our church’s prayer team and my dad’s church’s prayer team in McMinnville. In that group is a family member of mine – Jean. She is known for her love of God, His house, His ways and prayer. Jean’s daughter, Michelle, is also a lovely and wonderful woman who happened to meet and marry a great guy from my church here in Bend named Kirk.
We love Michelle and Kirk. They are gentle, kind and just good people and we were so excited when they announced that they would be having their first baby this September! The world needs more good people raising good babies, you know?
Well, Jean prayed and prayed for Steve and in the course of her contending for my sweet husband’s life, found herself in a fight for her own. In March, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is fast-moving and so Jean was not given a hopeful prognosis. Michelle’s fervent prayer was that her mom would live long enough to see and hold her baby.
Jesus, however, had other plans. The sickness progressed and last Friday, her relationship with Him went from heart-to-heart to face-to-face. I cried for our loss, but rejoiced in Jean’s gain. In heaven’s gain. A.W. Tozer said, “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” Well, Mr. Tozer, I can safely say that Jean was READY for heaven! Ready, ready, ready. There is no mourning for those who go to be with Jesus, there is only mourning for those left behind and so I kept thinking of each of her four wonderful kids – but especially about Michelle, who had just really wanted her mom to meet her baby.
On Tuesday, Michelle’s sweetheart baby girl – Layla – was stillborn. Turns out, Grandma Jean was the first to hold that Precious. Michelle imagined she would tell her daughter about her grandma, but it turns out that grandma is telling Layla about her mom. I suspect that no baby in all of heaven has ever received a warmer welcome. Can I tell you something else that’s just…stunning (oh dear, tears pour as I type this)? Even though the timing of these deaths seems so horribly unfair and like the very definition of what Paul called “sorrow-on-sorrow”, the nearness of these two home-goings created a unique opportunity. Because Baby Layla was born just days before Jean’s funeral, Kirk and Michelle were able to quietly tuck that sweet baby in with her grandma and both their frail, earthly bodies will be laid to rest together. It’s so beautiful and sorrowful that it’s just….too deep for words.
Steve and I stood in that hospital room on Tuesday, reeling with the sorrow and beauty of it all. So much, so fast. It’s hard to take it all in and impossible to make human sense of it. But the older I get, the more I understand that there’s only one thing worth knowing for sure: He is good and does good. Always. It’s His only way.
So I am praying for my cousin’s family who is faced with great sorrow. And I am praying for my own family because we are facing some tough stuff as well. But I assure you – from the depths of my little Bo being – I am, without any doubt, madly in love with the ways of God. His goodness is too deep for words.