By Anne Carraux
Sometimes the pain of earthly life is acute, such that it is felt even by those who just stand next to tragedy.
In the last two weeks, our parish community experienced a significant loss when two young fathers, deep in the task of raising families, lost in the fight against difficult illnesses. These men were prayerful and steadfast, strong in belief and clinging to their faith through suffering at the end, calling for family prayer throughout their pain. How could God allow such beautiful stewards to go so early? Surely their work on earth was not quite done. Our community prayed for a miracle.
And yet came death.
Today’s reading points to my hope again to God, seeing that our earthly understanding of a miracle may not align with the unimaginable beauty and delight God has planned for us. Who but a loving Father could “show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness,” a gift which our Ephesians reading sets up in contrast to what we might deserve?
A beautiful image of my own Dad comes to mind. Throughout my upbringing, I stumbled frequently—sometimes helping myself to dollars which weren’t mine, sometimes using a tone I would be embarrassed to repeat. Into young adulthood, my earthly Dad walked with me, even when I chose not to behave rightly, but his belief in me and love for me persevered. His encouragement was endless. He called me back to the path of goodness and always continued to share with me the bounty of family life and love and joy, a treasure which I accumulated before even realizing its value.
Isn’t our God this loving Father to a degree that we cannot possibly see with earthly eyes?
How many days does He walk alongside us, calling us over to light and goodness, and beckoning us to shine His love through to others and to step away, leaving darkness for the great plan He intended?
The well known verse of John 3:16 points the hearts of our community to what miracle God has had in the works all along: life beyond suffering, life back in the arms of a loving Father.
I cannot say in this moment that I fully understand the early homecoming of two great men to the Father, and yet, what parent has not been waiting joyfully for their children to return? We all want to be received with that love after our work here on Earth is done.
But it is the living who must keep faith with sight unseen, and who must seek comfort in imagining the beauty and bounty of family life in Heaven with the Father. How will we keep our eyes on God?
Dear Saints in Heaven,
Bring the pain of our earthly losses to Jesus on our behalf. Please ask Him to heal us as we mourn, and to continue to walk with us as we stumble and try to walk in light. That He may send us an image of the bounty that awaits.
A glorious day unimaginable and unearned. The love of a Father.
About the Author:
Anne Carraux married her college sweetheart and together they embarked on a journey of raising four exuberant children in Chaska, MN. Writing mostly in prayer and to make sense of her journey, Anne hopes her words help readers keep looking toward God, especially when it comes to living joyfully with faith. When not potty training or doing stress-maintenance in group exercise, you might find Anne hanging out in the sunshine with a good book.