Oh, How He Loves Us

If you read blogs much at all then no doubt you’ve heard Debra Parker’s plight in trying to get her newly-adopted son Ronel out of Haiti and into her arms.  I’ve wept as she has shared how her husband, Ernest, has slept on the floor of the Embassy in Haiti interceding on behalf of this child who is already theirs in heart. This is a woman I do not know other than through the world of web and yet this family’s anguish and frustration has completely hijacked my thoughts and prayers since I heard of it a few days ago. 

Can you imagine?  Your child is in a country of collapsed and crumbling buildings.   Inadequate food.  Unimaginable stench.  Surrounded by death and dying.  Held captive by bureaucracy.  Hopelessly aware you’ve done all you can do to get him out.  A signature – a seemingly simple transaction – is all that stands between this boy and new life.  And you – his rescuer –  wait and hope for the decision to be handed down that will mean his freedom.

I told Luke about Ronel this morning before church and sobbed like a baby.  He may have cried too.  In a world that shuts its ears to the horrors happening around us, these stories and images are the things that awaken a frenzy to do something to relieve the suffering of those who are living in conditions we deem unlivable.   It was while I was pondering these things that something occurred to me.

We are all orphans. 

Orphans living in a world that is collapsed and crumbling.  Starving for spiritual food.  Surrounded by death and dying.  Held captive by bureaocracy.  And all that is between us is a transaction –  a simple decision – between us and eternal life.  The same angst we feel and then fades when we come face-to-face with tradgedy and injustice is the eternal, urgent heartbeat of a God who is on a mission to rescue each and every suffering one.  He’s aware He’s given His best to get us out but this time, the decision for freedom is ours.    

How great is the love the Father has poured out on us that we should be called the children of God.

Please join me in praying not only for Ronel to be united with his family, but also for the many other children who are without homes and food and parents tonight.  Also, please pray for my brother-in-law, TJ, who has traveled to Depinos (changed from Port Au Prince) to minister there.

UPDATE from my sis-in-law, Laura Beth: 

“They are going to The Haiti Gospel Mission in Despinos (as far as we know). The plans changed again the morning of the trip. Just spoke with him and they were about to cross the border into Haiti. Said the poverty was unbelievable.”

The Divine Paradox

There are many reasons I love being married to a preacher man but one of the privileges of that role is being present by (what I hope is not a begrudged) default during the hallowed days in the lives of people we love.  We relive our own wedding vicariously through yours wishing we had been believers when we had married.  We rejoice again each time you bring a new life into this world both by birth and baptism.  When you say goodbye to your loved ones, we grieve with you and do our best to minister out of our own experiences of loss. 

During a short 2 hour span Monday, the Lord allowed me to both hold Deedra’s precious baby Walker for the first time and laugh at his adorable big brother and sister as they showed off ‘their baby’.  Straightaway, I went to hold my sweet friend Jenni and cry with her shortly before Randall went to be with the Lord.  Later that afternoon I sat on my bed staring into nothingness as I thought about how far the pendulum swings.  About the great expanse between life and death; the enormous arc between joy and sorrow.

The amazing thing about a pendulum is how very close one comes to making a full circle not unlike The Flying Dutchman at an amusement park.  If one extreme is sorrow and the other joy, then at the top of that arc the two are practically in kissing distance.  And there lies – or flies – paradox.  It’s in that terrifying limbo that we find unexplainable peace.  Where in our loss we are found.  When we are convinced yet again that God was holding us all along even when it felt He had left us hanging midair. 

I personally despise the Flying Dutchman.  Every time I’ve ever been on one I’m convinced that I’m that one person for whom gravity will fail and I’ll go crashing to the ground.  And yet, here I sit on sure ground proven wrong time after time.  In the words of Mr. Hopeful in The Pilgrim’s Progress, “Be of good cheer, my brother, for I feel the bottom, and it is sound.” 

Are there any out there who feel the bottom has fallen out?  It would be hypocritical for me to assure you that you are held if I hadn’t experienced being caught midair so many times.  No, I’ve not lost my husband or grown child, but there are other devastations that have pushed us to the brink of faith.  That being the case I can confidently say, you will get through this.  There will be a day when you are going about the course of things when you stop and realize the pain of this day is not prevailing as it did the day before.  I daresay you will even smile again.  There are many things I do not know, but this I do:  Now matter how scary the How, I can rest knowing I am safe in the Who.  The same one who called Peter to the Waves and Moses to the Sea has not chosen this day to forsake His children.

Sweet Jenni and girls:  I pray when you are desperate to see Christ, that you will only need look around to see Him in the faces of those who love you.  That you will be bold in your fear.  That you will find some unexpected joy in the midst of this sorrow.   That you will remember your husband and father with a smile through your tears.  

 That is the divine paradox and it is there you will find Him waiting.

Swallowed Up By Life

I want to thank all of you who have prayed for Randall and Jenni.  It is with the heaviest of hearts I tell you that Randall went home to be with the Lord today, November 23rd. 

I have many thoughts but not the wits to put them together.  The one thing the Lord has impressed upon me today is that death has not overcome Randall, but rather he has been set free to life.  No doubt, he has received the better resurrection; however, Jenni, Alicia, Allison, and Lindsey could use one to raise their broken hearts as well.  Jenni needs the strength that only God can give to both teach her how to navigate the days ahead and give her the stamina to comfort her precious girls in the midst of her own grief.  The only way she’ll have that is through the prayers of God’s people and the hands of those who will be Jesus to her when she desperately needs to know He hasn’t forgotten.  

Again, I thank you for being invested in the lives of this family who most of you have never met.  If you find a pause in the midst of your prayers, please utter “The Black’s” to fill the space.  God knows.   

“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  ~2 Corinthians 5:3-5

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