Well this week has been a tough one. I have asked God, “Why?” so many times. A young man…a senior in high school…took his own life. I cried many tears for the parents of this beautiful young man…their only child. My own son attended youth group with James. He didn’t know him well, but he knew him. I know his mom. I’m not super close friends with her, but I know her. She is my sister in Christ…a bond which can never be broken.
When I first heard the news, I was working at our local elementary school…except the person who told me didn’t say the name of the boy. I was deeply saddened with a rush of tears that welled up in my eyes and goose bumps that rose from within which sent a chill through my entire body. At that moment, I thought how much I hated Satan. I couldn’t shake the dark agonizing thoughts the last hour after hearing the sad news.
When I got home, I had a message from my friend Lori on my phone. I sensed the sound of urgency in her voice so I called her immediately. She proceeded to tell me the sad news. All I could say was,
“No…no…please tell me it wasn’t him!”
I already knew a lot of details, but now there was a face…a face I knew and watched play the drums on Sunday morning. I felt sick, sad, and remained in what seemed a somber trance like state for several hours.
So I did what I always do when sorrow is great, grief seems to be winning, and it feels as if Satan won…I turned my eyes upon Jesus…I looked full into His wonderful face…and the things of this Earth grew strangely dim…in the light of His glory and praise… and peace… it rested once again on my heavy shoulders if only for a moment and I was reminded how sweet it is to trust in Jesus.
I’ve prayed like…well…a maniac…this week. You see, you can’t help but think of your own children in a situation such as this and then you think of all the children James knew…his close friends. Well, I just know my God is an amazing God who has so much grace…more than we could ever fathom…and loves His children tremendously. He is a spendthrift when it comes to love and forgiveness and because of His great love we cannot be consumed for He has already won the victory over Satan.
Its Easter week and today, Palm Sunday, the day they cried, “Hosanna!” as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. During the sermon, I was reminded of Jesus who was taunted while he hung in excruciating pain upon the cross between two nails in the palms of his hands…all for me…all for you…all for James. He could have said things back. He could have stopped it all in an instant, but he didn’t retaliate…he chose to give forgiveness. We should never judge the amount of grace God chooses to give. Remember…we have all sinned and fall short…way short…of the expectations of God. This is why we need Jesus. And just as Christ forgives us, so also we too need to forgive others.
Let your tears flow and allow the Redeemer to catch the salted drops in his cupped hands. He takes those tears and turns them into healing. He breathes love into the hurt and makes life worth living once again. He longs to hear your voice cry out to Him. When life seems hard and the sun seems to shine no more, climb into the lap of Jesus and sit awhile with Him. He gives us beauty for the ashes of life…the oil of joy for mourning…and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Please kids…keep singing to Jesus!