A snowy and icy Monday here on the prairie.
Today as I sit to think of what to say to you, I am reminded of a “talking to” that our little band of brothers get on the weekly.
They are full of energy and bravado with limited doses of common sense.
A session of homework unattended can turn into a spontaneous P. E. Class featuring a combination of touch football and cage wrestling in a heart beat.
The results are often cosmetic damages to the house along with the occasional bloody nose and minor abrasions and bruises.
Thankfully Mom is a nurse and Dad has an aptitude for home repairs.
So whatever is broken is usually fixed handily or iced or cleaned up.
But some of their escapades border on heart-stopping shenanigans that leave the grown ups in their lives with the sick aftermath of “What if….?”
Running out in a busy street to snag an errant ball, tying a coaster car to the leash of the dog with a three year old hanging on, climbing tree branches that are questionable as to weight limits..I could go on but if you have raised boys you can fill in your own nightmare scenarios.
When these things happen, I have heard both parents remind the offender with passion and mild panic that there are some things mommies and daddies can’t fix.
This weekend I was apprised of several families who are facing daunting cancer diagnoses in young children. I have sat under my blankets thinking of our own little precious ones and wept buckets for these young parents and siblings as they attempt to live with an unknown future one day at a time. I am touched by their efforts to wring every last moment of joy out of what they have each day.
As much as they want to, these mommies and daddies can’t fix this.
We have several sympathy cards on the counter for friends who have lost loved ones in the past week, others have had to put beloved fur family members down and still others are trying to manage the care of aging parents in the midst of the challenges Covid adds to health care issues.
The counts of death tolls as we near the one year anniversary of the pandemic are sobering. And that is just in our country. We wonder about our friends around the world and the repercussions of grief and loss in places that already struggled against unfathomable odds.
It is in our nature to try to fix things, but we can’t fix a pandemic, cancer, grief.
So it is that prayer becomes tears.
Lifting empty and helpless hands, it is a great comfort to remember that as Jesus made His way to the tomb of His friend Lazarus; full on knowing He had the power over death and that in just a few minutes the weeping and mourning would turn to dancing, Jesus wept.
While we don’t know for sure exactly why He wept, the people at the time surmised it was His deep love for Lazarus that caused His tears and deep emotional sorrowing. In my mind, I would think more it was His compassion for seeing others in such deep mourning and loss.
I would guess that even though He knew Lazarus would rejoin everyone here for a while longer, eventually the day would come when those left on planet earth who loved the man would have to grieve again.
He took on our pain and sorrow and suffering along with our sin and when you and I feel the tears of deep pain and helplessness, we can know our God sits alongside us and holds us with compassion and love.
He feels what we feel.
He knows the end of the story is better than what we see now, but He is kind and good to sit with us in our grieving and hold us. He is compassionate towards us who are flesh and blood.
And we can know and be thankful that our prayers for others bring them into His Presence where they can receive this same personal comfort and love and tender care.
What a blessed relationship we share as the Body of Christ through prayer and shared sorrow and suffering. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we sit in our chairs and weep for those who are experiencing such a devastating season. Through our prayers for them, we link arms and invite God to work in the setting to strengthen them and grace them with what they need to keep pressing on.
This is an act of love to intercede for others who are hurting and helpless. And so our prayers go up today for those who are wading through what they cannot fix. We will settle into the pain with you and we will cry out to God on your behalf, trusting His hand to provide for you in ways we couldn’t think to ask and have not the resources to imagine.