I sit with my children upstairs on their bedroom floor. All of us in our PJ's. I've been praying all day. Every single human interaction has breathed fear, anxiety, anticipation as the country waited with bated breath for some news.
That was probably the worst part of the day's drama. The not knowing.
And the faces. The photos of a boy. Not even the 8 year old. The 19 year old. A kid. And he is just as dead as his victims, deader still because his heart cannot feel.
So I read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and Trucktown and Disney books with the four when my husband sticks his head through the door. "They caught him." I just want to cry. He is alive, and he is caught, and I feel as though the burning relief in my heart just can't be contained so it just floods and I stare at the words, speak the words, while my mind is in a far off land.
8 hours later Scott's pastor phone blares an electronic tune that is hardly a melody and that churns my heart into panic. An hour later he sits beside two church members, a police officer who just a little while earlier received a call to the scene of an accident; as well as the only survivor of the accident- the officer's wife.
And in nearly 24 hours their daughter will tesify to her faith in Jesus Christ in front of a packed church. Only at that time she doesn't know where her mother and father are. Or what has happened to her mother's uncle.
As Scott listens, consoles, prays, I rummage for breakfast with a prayerful heart and distracted mind. I open the refrigerator that is gradually being clothed in Bible verses my mother and sister and I are memorizing. I glance at the latest Biblical apparel:
Rejoice always, Paul urges.
Pray without ceasing,
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Thess 5:16-18)
I selected those verses for us 2 weeks ago. If you get a chance, check out their context- crazy applicable.
Rejoice always. Come again, Lord?
The Lord would not tell us to do what He Himself was not capable of accomplishing in us. At the same moment pain and fear and circumstances are crippling a nation, there are those entering the sheepyard of faith, joining the fold. And heaven is rejoicing- not at the expense or in the face of tears, but because when a sinner repents it is just too good not to rejoice. The daughter of the hospitalized woman declared her faith before men and women and children alongside 3 of her classmates just a few hours ago- such cause to rejoice. Your faith-heaven rejoices over that as well, and you should too!
Pray without ceasing.
That one wasn't too hard to swallow this week.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
When my kids are breathing, and running, and singing, and yelling, and nagging, and tattling, and fighting, and laughing... how can I not be thankful?
When my husband loves me like Christ loved the church... how can I not be thankful?
When my family and friends enjoy health and faith... how can I not be thankful?
Yet, while I am beyond thankful for those gifts I absolutely do not deserve, the graces lavished by a generous God for reasons beyond me- the true source of that unexplainable, all-the-time thankfulness is this: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death... Romans 8:1-2
Rejoice, Pray, Give thanks- and the serving and loving and living will come easier.
RGP people- until this whole messy world is just a memory.
What Bible verses cause joy and thankfulness to well up in you, even when it seems there is so little for which to be thankful?