Joy Comes in the Morning #TraditionallySouthside

My heart breaks this morning for several families in our city. One family has lost a child following a long battle with cancer; the other has discovered that their senior adult wife and mother’s cancer has metastasized to the brain, and the prognosis is not good. Both families are Christian families, and both have handled the difficulties of these diagnoses as well as any family possibly could. One of these families I know well; the other I have followed on Facebook. Both families are the epitome of Christian warriors, and to the family of Kayleigh, the little girl who has gone on to be with Jesus, I just want to say, “Well done!”

I know that doesn’t mean much to you in the midst of your grief. You don’t even know me. Truth is, you probably won’t even read this, but for those of you who are reading this, let me share with you my perspective on this story. I don’t have all the answers. I cannot even begin to answer the question of why. I wouldn’t even begin to try so don’t ask. But as I have watched this family’s battle, I can tell you this. Little Kayleigh won. That’s right. She won. I know that her mom and dad and all of the family and friends wanted a different outcome. All of us who were praying for this precious child did. I’ve been there, and I’ve done that. Two years, seven months, and fourteen days ago. Our little Lucy was born and almost died. We did battle for two weeks and almost lost her twice in her first two days of life. We praise God every day that she survived. She won. But so did Kayleigh. It’s like the Apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, but to die is gain!”

I know that it is hard for us to understand because all we know is this life, and we hold to it so tightly. I tell my people so often that if we spent as much time praying lost people into heaven as we do praying saved people out of heaven we would have revival in all of our churches. Think about that for a while. Maybe it’s because we are afraid of what is beyond this life. Maybe it’s because we aren’t sure what is beyond this life. But as I was praying for Kayleigh’s family this morning, I was thinking about the first time that my daughter left my granddaughter with me. I know that she trusts me implicitly. I know that she knows that I love my granddaughter with all my heart and would sacrifice my life for her. But I just bet there was a little bit of fear and trepidation when she walked out the door and left that little bundle of joy behind. I’ve never asked her, and I don’t intend to do so now. I wonder if that’s how Kayleigh’s parents feel right now. They have left their bundle of joy in the hands of the most perfect Father who not only loves their daughter with all His heart but who did make the greatest sacrifice of all time for her. Because of that sacrifice, there will come a day when they will see her again, but when they do, she will be completely whole and healthy. No more sickness, no more pain. You can trust me on that. Better yet – trust the Father.

As for the other family – well, I sat with that precious lady after she received her prognosis, and do you know what she said to me? “Everyone has to die. I don’t want to leave my son, my granddaughters, or my precious husband, but I am ready.” Now folks, that is what I am talking about. “For to me, to live is Christ, but to die is gain!”

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