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Brighter than Darkness, Ruler over Death–God is Near!

old St. Augustine

The first road Georgia and I set foot on in the old city was covered with these bricks–thousands of them, all saying the same thing “Graves, B’ham. ALA.” My Joe most certainly feels like he’s dying in Birmingham, Alabama.

A good name is better than fine oil,
and the day of death better than the birthday. Ecclesiastes 7:1 (CEB)

Where could I go to get away from your spirit? Where could I go to escape your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there. If I went down to the grave,you would be there too! If I could fly on the wings of dawn, stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—even there your hand would guide me; even there your strong hand would hold me tight! If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me,” even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you! Nighttime would shine bright as day, because darkness is the same as light to you! Psalm 139:7-12 (CEB)

Today was profoundly challenging; thankful to have something to do . . . something to enjoy even, but as a mom my mind was constantly on Joe.

A lot of love, from friends far and wide, has spilled generously over the ache of my heart, especially over the past few weeks. Some of that love drew Georgia and me all the way to St. Augustine, Florida. It’s been a blessing; a change of scenery that’s provided an opportunity to soak my weary soul in beauty and to have the joy of seeing refreshment and wonder reappear in the face of my other beloved child.

But even here I’m not free to be carefree. Joe is suffering, more than I can effectively articulate. Speaking with him on the phone this morning, I felt so many things: sadness at the severity of his illness and in his belief that I’m at fault for his being committed, effectively–in his mind at least–ruining his life, guilt for being in such a beautiful place while he languishes there, worry over how he’ll cope with the stress he’s feeling . . . and all of this is intensified because birthdays should be days of celebration.

I learned something today. November 1st is an actual holiday in many cultures–Día de Muertos, it’s called, and it means ‘Day of the Dead.’

How ironic.

What I want for my boy, is that he finally have peace. It’s not that I want him to die–I just want him to be able to live. So on this conflicted day, in the midst of this conflicted season, I’m encouraged by some things that are truer than the ocean-salted air I’m breathing: our darkness isn’t too dark for God. He can break through the darkest of nights with His redeeming love.

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In so many ways, Joe has already died. When I pray for him (and it seems like it’s nonstop), I find myself praying more and more for God to minister to his spirit. Because Joe’s conscious mind is pretty far gone. I know God can touch the depths of our souls even when our consciousness might not comprehend, so I’m praying He’s ministering to Joe.

Thankful. Unexpectedly, that’s something else I’m feeling. Because I have a son. As a reborn child of God, Joe has a good name. God keeps reminding me–as much as I have Joe on my mind, He’s ever mindful of him–and me–as well. And that His love shines brighter than the darkness that’s overwhelming my boy–and that even as Joe’s earthly frame suffers, God has powerfully and emphatically triumphed over death.

I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV)


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