“Bummer.” As you know, the last while has been difficult for me, but my sister has been planning a family reunion that is to take place this next week. Joy!! It has been years since I have seen some of my family and many of the younger people, not at all. My mother is 92. The place where the reunion is to be held – Grand Mesa, Colorado – is absolutely one of my favorite places on earth. Many family vacations were spent there. We were really looking forward to this. But…the closer it got to the time we were to leave, the more uncomfortable we became about going. We enjoyed a small trip to Wyoming last weekend, but my husband has not really felt great since we returned. His legs have been swollen and his blood pressure is bouncing around. That trip was two hours by car, one way. The Grand Mesa trip would be about seven and the altitude is over 11,000 feet. There is no doctor or hospital even close if Dave were to have a medical emergency.
We try to pay attention to God’s leading in our lives. We believe he has told us not to go. We believe Dave’s condition has something to do with it, but maybe God has another reason and is using this to guide us. We may never know, but God does use our suffering to transform us if we allow him. Pain shows me my need of God. This situation, though painful, is not really terrible even though I might not see some family members again.
There is much worse pain and suffering in the world, now, than that of not being able to attend a family reunion. Oswald Chambers said, “When you are joyful, be joyful; when you are sad, be sad. If God has given you a sweet cup, don’t make it bitter; and if He has given you a bitter cup, don’t try and make it sweet; take things as they come.” But, just because the pain and suffering with which others are dealing is bigger or worse than ours does not mean that ours should be ignored. It still hurts. So, how do we handle it?
How did Jesus respond to pain and suffering? Philip Yancey writes, “If I ever wondered about the appropriate ‘spiritual’ response to pain and suffering, I can note how Jesus responded to his own: with fear and trembling, with loud cries and tears.” True. And Henri Nouwen said, “Jesus was broken on the cross. He lived his suffering and death not as an evil to avoid at all costs, but as a mission to embrace. We too are broken. We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships. How can we live our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God’s blessing for our purification and sanctification. Thus our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.” Yes!
So, I’m very disappointed and sad. Who knows why we need to stay home? Is it because of a possible medical emergency or is it that I/we need to be home for another reason. Perhaps it is because I am in the middle of a transformational process and Jesus needs to finish this part of it.
This I do know; “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” ~ Job 19:25-26. I have seen God, already, in so many ways and I know God wins.