Our visiting also stirred up some pain that had been lying dormant. Her husband was my favourite uncle. I guess he still is, but I haven't seen him for 28 years. He was taken from us, violently, by the hands of one whom we had cared for. My Uncle Gerry was a pastor, a man who loved God, and truly believed that love should be lived out, poured out, on the broken and hungry. He was killed "in the line of duty."
It almost felt wrong grieving again after so many years, but are there any rules about when grieving starts and ends? Loss is...just that, loss. There was a time when I wrestled and struggled and was so angry that God would let this evil happen. I no longer hold Him responsible for the choices of men. However, I am reminded that ANY time any of us listen to the lies of the enemy, choose sin, reject truth...there's a price to pay.
Sin causes pain.
I talked to my aunt for hours. We caught up as adults. She raised, I am raising, three kids. Her story is full of miracles--the greatest being the power of forgiveness. No less amazing to me are all the stories of miraculous provision. Sin may have stolen her husband in his prime, but Jesus has not abandoned her.
Jesus brings healing. He paid the eternal price AND He brings healing to us here and now.
There are still fracture lines of pain running through our extended family because of this loss. There is also a powerful testimony that God and His love are real and that there's hope for healing after devastating loss.
I have a burning passion to tell you, to tell everyone, that there's healing for you, that the pain doesn't need to multiply and spread. That God doesn't just heal our hearts, He promises to "repay two blessings for each of your troubles." He promises that there will be a day when "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain."*
This is no pie-in-the-sky promise. I've seen the down payment on the promise...the joy in my aunt, the end of the torment in my own heart, in the hundreds who have received the gift of God's love in the wake of my uncle's death. In his life and death they saw what Love looks like.
Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood,
I will free your prisoners from death...
Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope!
I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.
Zechariah 9:11-12 NLT