Do you ever have those moments where time seems to stop? Where your heart just seems to sink?
We are surrounded constantly by tragedy and pain. Yet there are some people’s stories that just touch your heart strings in a such a way, that the song won’t stop playing.
I barely knew Hope. She visited our bible study class once or twice this fall. I knew she was a good friend of another woman T who was in my discussion group last year and this year. Hope suffered her entire life from cystic fibrosis. She and her husband were in the process of foster adopting a little girl who has been with them since the girl was a baby. Hope was a stay at home mom. Hope was 30 years old. She died suddenly from complications of her disease over Thanksgiving weekend.
When I found out she died, so many emotions ran through my heart. So many questions. Though I barely knew her and never had a direct conversation with her, her death touched me deeply.
I asked God, Why her? Why not me? Some of you may remember I almost died in labor.
Why did her life end so early? Why was her life so hard? Why do others’ lives seem so carefree and easy?
I realized a few things from struggling over this.
1. We each have our own journey and our own story to tell. God is writing his own symphony in us and it is unique to us. We each have our own purposes to fulfill, our own calling, our own mission, our own earthy assignment.
2. I also realized Hope’s story is not over yet. It may seem so because she is not alive. However, I believe that she has crossed over to the other side. That God might just maybe have another assignment in the spiritual realm for her that he decided to call her home to complete.
This is not meant at all to take away the pain and loss that all those of us who are left behind feel.
But it helped me to make sense of a story that I see weaved into the lives of many faithful people in the Bible. The stories of Moses, Joseph, Naomi, Paul, Esther, John, David, and others were each unique. Each person fulfilled a unique mission and purpose, and their life stories were so important that they became part of the Old and New Testament to be passed down from generation to generation – to be used directly to speak to us today though the Holy Spirit in often quite miraculous direct ways. The Bible is not just a history book. It’s the Living Word of God. And He wants to speak to you and me through it. (Although quite honestly I still seem to forget this truth on a daily basis)
Hope’s story of her life on earth is over. Yet perhaps she lived “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14 And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”). Hope has lived that unique period of time on earth that God wanted her to be here to fulfill His mysterious purposes.
Hebrews 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them…
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground…
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
As we go through life in the ordinary and the extraordinary moments – I pray each of us can fulfill the mysterious earthly mission He has for us – and that we can look forward to the amazing incomprehensible heavenly assignments to come.