My eye scans the battered and torn list of prayer requests. This is a list that spans years. Your name is there over and over with my hopes and dreams for your life. Some answered, some useless because you are gone. Your braces. I never got to see your perfectly straight teeth. It feels uncompleted.
Your surgery where they inserted a rod beneath your breastbone to correct the cavity. I never got to see that healed. Far from it, the EMT broke your chest when he started chest compressions. I thought about yelling at him to stop because we knew it was too late to bring you back but nothing mattered anymore and I had no strength to explain it all. I walked out of that garage with him working on you and me wondering, did he just crush Tristan’s chest?
God was good to get you that chest surgery against all odds in this medical system. What a strange way to bring it all to an end. Crushed and useless, that surgeon’s beautiful work. He was on your side and fought for you. But in the end, you couldn’t fight for yourself any longer.
That might be what bothers me the most. How God started a work in you and brought it to such an abrupt end. Why even start, then? Give you braces that will never straighten your teeth? Give you a green light for surgery that will never fulfill its purpose? Give you a passion for Scripture and seeking truth only to have it not keep you alive in the end?
What about giving you a fixation for saving your friend, and when you were thwarted, having that be the driving force that ends your life?
So many promising starts and answered prayers for beginnings, all brought to the most unexpected and traumatizing end.
This must be how the disciples felt when everything they had started came crashing down around them. It’s clear from Scripture that all of them believed they would sit on 12 thrones now. Israel’s restoration was now. Their King was working NOW to bring it all to fruition. And they had proof. The whole city erupted into the prophecied welcome of the Messiah with palm branches. That was THE sign.
They saw what God was doing and thought they knew how He was going to finish it.
Little did they know as they ate supper together that it was their Last Supper. That in just a few hours they would lose their best friend, their leader, their common sense, their mission, their sense of safety, their position, their fellowship, their future, their hope, their confidence, and their plans. Here’s what Jesus said to them just before all their dreams were broken to bits:
- I have prayed for you.
- Little children, where I am going you cannot come. You cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow later.
- Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in Me.
- I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am, there you may be also.
- And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (the Holy Spirit), that He may be with you forever.
- I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.
- Peace I leave with you. Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.
- The Father and I will come and make our abode with you. It is to your advantage that I go away.
- You will weep and lament. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.
- Therefore, you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you.
- These things I have spoken to you that you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
Could this list also be for me? All of my dreams were broken to bits. It turns out that this list is still good for bewildered people who have had the rug pulled out from under them. I can go back over it for my loss and it applies to everything I thought God was going to do with Tristan vs. what He actually did. This isn’t even an exhaustive list of all the compassionate, merciful things Jesus tenderly gave His friends just before all hell broke loose.
The disciples got to see how their mission changed. (All but one of them died for Christ.) My mission has also changed and I must purpose to live for Him. It’ll be a life without my boy, but a life for Him, nonetheless. It’s always been a life for Him, I just thought it would also be with Tristan. Here’s where trusting Him either has legs, or doesn’t.
Dear God, If I had to choose, I would be like those disciples who wanted what they wanted NOW. But You are in the business of wait and see. Help me to! Help me to look at how You did it in the past and to believe You will do it for our Tristan-less future. Help me to live a life so that when I finally get to be with Tristan I can say, “Wait until you see what God did after you went home!” Kiss my boy for me. Please give him a big hug and tell him it’s from me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.