I hesitate to write about a fresh tragedy. I prefer to be a silent, weeping observer. Yet Scriptures come forth along with the prayers and tears. Indeed, does it not seem the Bible was written mainly in times of prayers and tears? May the Scriptures below help another.
Tuesday a car accident caused the death here in Kokomo of three people: a mother of twelve, her 17 year-old son and her 15 year-old daughter. Having taught these children and their siblings this past year and interacted many times with their dear, loving mother, the sense of loss these deaths bring to this family is overwhelming.
My eyes fail because of tears,
My spirit is greatly troubled;
My heart is poured out on the earth
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
When little ones and infants faint in the streets of the city.
Last night our church leadership was meeting downstairs in the building and spent time in the midst of other matters praying for this family. Upstairs a group of young people from the academy gathered with a few of their mothers. They wept, remembered, and prayed for this matter alone for two hours.
LORD, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.
Words failed me in sending a card to two of the surviving siblings I know best. I just want to hug them.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body…
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we should,
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
-Romans 8:22-23, 26
A pastoral observation I’ve made in recent years is that though the Bible clearly says there is “a time to weep” and “a time to mourn,” Americans do not like to take the time. A father falls to his death at a baseball game. The next day they are playing a game again dedicated to his memory. But life is not a game! After this comes eternity. When Jacob, a father of twelve, died, even the Egyptians wept for him for seventy days. So stop. Be sober minded. Cry. Hug your loved ones. Share memories. Ask questions. Seek answers. Trust God for the unanswerable. Confess sin. Forgive. Serve the grieving. Hug your loved ones again.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners;
and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Be miserable and mourn and weep;
let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
O Lord, help us to remember that you answered the questions of Job’s suffering with questions of your own.
Have you entered into the springs of the sea
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
Have you understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.