Update: July 31, 2015
Dear Church Family,
We continue to be carried by the prayers of God’s people. A sincere thank you to those who are faithful in prayer. We are witness to the effects of prayer. You are aware of our recent disappointment. While we were looking ahead to welcome Ben and Kristen’s third child, we were devastated by the news that in a routine checkup the baby’s heartbeat could not be found. That alarming text message turned to grief 20 minutes later when we learned that their baby boy, Jaxton James, had died in utero. We are heartbroken. The family celebration we anticipated turned into a graveside committal service on Tuesday.
On Monday this week I accompanied Connie to her oncology appointment at the CRH. The information overload left us feeling overwhelmed. Our conversation in the following days were processing the decision to take or decline the chemotherapy option. We are weighing quality of days against the quantity of days. We recognize that Connie’s cancer is terminal and are in the process of accepting that reality. We decided to pursue the first round of chemotherapy which was taken yesterday.
These are hard days, but we are choosing to trust in the goodness of God, even when it doesn’t feel just. We believe in His goodness still when we don’t understand. I’ve been reflecting on the words of Job who raised the question, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10) Today, as we celebrate 39 years of marriage, we are truly overwhelmed when we remember the multiplied blessings received from God. No, we don’t like this cancer journey, or a premature baby death, or multiple sclerosis, or dementia. But when we reflect on our life we see the amazing goodness of God over and over again throughout our lifetime.
I liken our experience to the clefs on a music staff. The treble clef, which forms the melody line is reflective of our emotions. We find ourselves crying and laughing in the same conversation. Our emotions are fragile and on edge. On the same music sheet there is the bass clef, resounding notes on the nature and character of God. We remain confident in His goodness and in His absolute control over all our affairs. In other words, while we know the raw emotion of disappointment and grief, we also hear the resounding promises of the One who said “I will never leave you or forsake you.” These together form the harmony of life.
This experience is an occasion for us to live out what we have taught over the years. The final chapter of Job is rich in theology where the protagonist confidently declares “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (42:2). A few verses later Job reflects on his own experience, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (42:6). Following the graveside for our stillborn grandson on Tuesday Connie commented, “That little box is a reminder that I have no control over the days of my life.” Psalm 139 clearly teaches that God ordains every day of our lives: “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (vs 16). Eternity has become much closer and more real for both of us.
Choosing to trust in the goodness of God,
Ian (on behalf of Connie)
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