Tonight was hard. I received a phone message from my sweet OB who somehow just heard the news about Isaiah (she obviously didn't deliver him - another OB from our fairly large group was working that day). I didn't get to see her as often this pregnancy with our busy schedules, but I saw her as much as I could and she usually always calls her patients after every birth - no matter who delivered. Since I hadn't heard from her, I wondered if she knew.
On the message, she sent her sympathies and apologized for the time lapse. She talked clinically about what happened to Isaiah, and as she spoke, the images of his still body scalded my vision. My mind imagined that cord wrapped tightly around his abdomen several times and that tight, true knot in his cord - the knot that cut off his life giving blood and oxygen. It was too much.
It's not that I haven't thought about this before...obviously I have - a lot. But for some reason, a tidal wave of emotions that hadn't yet shown their presence overcame me as I imagined life leaving my little boy. A mixture of anger and anxiety paralyzed me because this can never be fixed...this
will never be made right in this lifetime...this is never going to get better...this never should have
happened. This NEVER should have happened!
But it did.
Death should not happen!
But it does.
During the message at Isaiah's memorial service in the cities, some were confused when our pastor explained that Isaiah's death was never part of God's intentional will. To be fair, this past winter we had a four week sermon series about the three types of wills of God that really stuck with me - so it isn't surprising that it would be hard to grasp all of that information in a few sentences of that portion of the message - but I am SO excited that those words really made people think hard about the will of God. (And thank you pastor D and pastor E - for your wonderful messages at both services!)
I'd like to share a bit more about this - even if it gets a
little bit long winded. Thanks for reading - as this is where I'm at today. (and credit needs to
be given to our pastor and the Bible here...I am using many direct words from the sermon notes...)
God never originally intended for death to be part of life. That sounds a bit strange since Christians often justify tragedy by saying "it must be God's will," and in a sense they are right that God allows pain, suffering, and tragedy to occur, but originally these things were never part of God's intention for our lives.
God's intentional will could be described as his ideal intentions for us and his creation. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve's misuse of free will disrupted God's intentional will, so sin, death, and pain entered the scene and separated us from the life God intended for us. This is why Jesus had to come - to save us from sin and death through his sacrifice on the cross so that we had a way to get right with God again. God's rules were that this could not be achieved without a perfect sacrifice...so he provided that, too - His son. [which is obviously hard for me to imagine doing]
Way back then and even now, the proper way to use our free will is to surrender to God's will. So if Adam and Eve would have obeyed and followed what God had intended for them, death never would have become part of the equation.
The circumstantial will of God is God's plan to redeem what humans messed up - but within the circumstances that affect our lives (aka - hardship, suffering, or even death - like that of little Isaiah). This is the "God's will" that we talk about a lot...how God is working within life as we know it...leading us, but also allowing sin and death and pain to affect us. The goal of God's circumstantial will is to display his glory in our lives and form his character in us. No matter what the circumstance, we must continue to believe in God, worship him, and try to become more like Christ. It may not seem fair that we have to go through these things...it is definitely not what God wanted for us...but we must remember is that it is absolutely not fair that we have the chance to be forgiven so that we CAN experience God's intentional will for our lives. Though it may not seem like it, the circumstances we endure now are temporary -- what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Although Jesus has conquered death through the cross (in that we have access to the life God intended for us if we trust and follow Him), death won't completely be overcome until Christ returns again and defeats Satan, evil, and death - once and for all. This brings us to the ultimate will of God. God's ultimate will is not just for everything in our lives to turn out good. Yes, God cares about us and will always be with us, but life is not just about US. God's ultimate will is for us to worship and serve him forever with our resurrected body. In order for that to be possible (because we are sinners), we not only have to accept Christ, but we also have to persevere in life until Christ returns and takes care of this mess once and for all.
Praise God that his plan is to come full circle - to make the life he intended for us become a reality again. Like pastor said - Isaiah's death was never part of God's intentional will (if life were still like it was in the Garden of Eden - perfect and eternal). But since death is a part of life right now, we have to assume that Isaiah's death WAS part of God's circumstantial will (because he allowed it to happen). Now those of us left here must consider how we will respond to these circumstances. Ultimately, if we know Christ we will get to enjoy the life God originally intended...and I will get to embrace my Isaiah - who will be full of life - not still and breathless. Until then - RIGHT NOW - we have to feel death's sting. Oh how I wish it weren't so. But I will still choose to praise God - knowing that ultimately, death has already been overcome. Even if that praise comes through tears - or anger - or anxiety...I will choose to praise him.
Even though this suffering is so hard to swallow - so hard to endure - so hard to process, This knowledge that Christ has overcome death is the source of our hope. THIS is why we cannot grieve like those who have no hope...because those who trust in Christ will get to see Isaiah again one day and enjoy the life that God initially intended for mankind. The reality is, if you haven't made the choice to accept Christ and live for him now - during this life - you are living without that hope.
Do you know Christ? Do you have peace about what will ultimately happen to you? I pray that you do - and I would love to talk more with you if you aren't sure, because I want to spend eternity with you...
...and I want you to be able to meet my little boy.
Wow - I wasn't planning on sharing THAT tonight...thanks for reading this insanely long post, friends. I cherish each one of you.