No, I haven’t forgotten what day it is, I am simply writing a day early. A day off afforded me some space for reflection and the calendar reminded me that 24 years ago today our oldest daughter, Madilyn, died of complications arising from congenital heart defects. She was 3 months and 16 days into her earthly journey when the Lord took her. Even after 2 dozen years I can still feel the vacuum that Lisa and I experienced in those days of empty arms. Those of you who have experienced loss know that there is simply no way to escape the pain.
But, pain is not the end of the story for the Christian. Certainly in our family the Lord has "restored the years the locusts have eaten" (cf. Joel 2:25) by filling our home with 3 amazing sons, 4 delightful daughters, and a number of other wonderful young image bearers to share our home and life with. We have been reminded of His sovereignty and believe that His best has operated both in our life and in Madilyn's. Even more than these things God has filled empty spaces with Himself. The One who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son has entered the heart of this grieving parent with life-giving promises of hope.
David, who also knew the pain of loss, says this:
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:13–14)
So, in our places of pain or confusion may we find ourselves before the Lord who restores the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). May we cry out with saints from all ages, "We believe, help our unbelief" (Mark 9:24). Together, let us all wait for the Lord who conquers death and intercedes for His people. This Sunday we will begin a first-hand look at the intercession known as the "High Priestly Prayer" by diving into John 17:1-5.