Joe, my son, is on a trip with another local church. He is in South Dakota. He is seeing Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, the Badlands, farms, mountains and so much more. My niece is on the trip as well. The other day my brother-in-law asked me how bad I was missing my boy. I told him that I was not. He was shocked and a bit put off by my answer but thanked me for my honesty. I explained to him why I responded the way I did.
If he was here, he’d be on his phone. He’d be bored. He’d be sleeping too much. I’d (this may be hard to believe) be angry with him. Instead he is experiencing the trip of a lifetime. Simply, he is not supposed to be here. Clearly I’m not saying that I don’t love him or that I don’t enjoy his company. He is just supposed to be there…not here.
Perhaps I can say that so calmly (you may think coldly) because I have another son, Trey. He is not here either. No, he’s not on that trip with Joe to the Great Plains…Mountain West…wherever we call South Dakota. As many of you know, he died in November of 2014. He is not here. Do I miss him? To a degree yes, but in many ways no. How can I say that? He’s not supposed to be here. God blessed him with 6 amazingly remarkable years on this earth. He endured so much and yet was blissfully unaware of most of it. He never knew what cancer was, never knew that he had it, and never knew that he was dying. He LIVED life hard and fast and was taken home to be with his Heavenly Father. I am occasionally asked if I wonder what Trey would be like today as a 9 year old. Nope, never, not once. He’s not supposed to be here.
I was reading through, in preparation for this week’s sermon, 2 Peter 3. In it Peter encourages us to “be at peace with Him (God/Jesus).” None of us walk through life unscathed. Jesus certainly didn’t. We have to come to peace with the fact that God is with us and not against us. He loves us through our pain rather than keeping us from all pain (that comes when we are with Him for eternity).
I have had the opportunity to get to know quite a few people who are in recovery from addiction. One of the twelve steps that they use is to believe in a power greater than themselves. I believe that we would all do well to remember that there is a God and that He is far greater than ourselves. Too often I believe that we see God as someone who is at our beckon call, a celestial valet, even a lucky rabbit’s foot. We have to come to grips that we are ultimately not in charge of everything that happens in and to our life.
The beauty in that is a sense of peace that comes with knowing that we don’t have to micromanage everything and that we are not to blame for everything that goes wrong. God shows us that we can overcome much. He shows us that we will be ok in the long run. He shows that even though there are trials, tribulations, and yes, heartbreak that we (through Him) are stronger than we could ever imagine.
Yes, I do miss my sons but…they’re not supposed to be here, and I’m ok with that.