My Friday was definitely worse than my Thursday. I was changing out an oil pump on a power burner/boiler at a school by my house. When I finished installing the pump, I hooked back up the oil lines but did not fill the pump back up with oil to prime it. It was a very dumb mistake which ended up seizing the new pump. My brain was not engaged at all. I told the maintenance person I was working with that I needed an early lunch break. After a six inch subway sandwich and one too many cookies, I went back and packed up my tools. I apologized to the customer, who was very understanding, and headed home. I cried multiple times during the drive as I stole glances of Mercy pictures on my phone. Maybe Monday will be better. It seems like it should be easier then this.
Arriving home, I took a shower and a twenty minute nap. I am currently in my office with my iPad and my Bible opened to Isaiah 41:10. This is one of the verses that was sent to us in a card yesterday. I have two duties to perform from this text; I am not to fear, and not to be dismayed. Dismayed … what is dismayed? Dismay is the loss of resolution or courage. Hmm, I think I lost both of those things sometime around 7:30 this morning. Maybe I left them in the boiler room where I was working. I see here that I should not have to fear or be dismayed because God tells me that he is with me, and he is my God. This is good news. He is with me now as the fog from the day is clearing off the stratosphere of my brain. He was with me when I was consumed by the smell of #2 fuel oil in the dark and gloomy boiler room hours ago. He is my God, and he is with me.
When we are fearful and dismayed, we need strength, help, and holding. These are the three things that my God tells me he will do.
“I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
All of God’s deeds are righteous because all of God is righteous. It is not as if righteousness is abstract apart from God and he ascends to the category of righteousness and abides there. He DEFINES RIGHTEOUSNESS by everything he says and does. He has taken from me and my family our dear baby girl Mercy. This act of his is righteous. I don’t understand how exactly it is, but I believe it to be true because he is my God and he is with me. He will help me. He is helping me now as tears well in my eyes as I write. He is holding me just below the surface of the water with his righteous hand under my stomach. I can’t hold by breath much longer and am starting to panic. Yet who gives life and breath to every creature under the heavens? It is God. He will help and hold me every moment until I am held in the strong and mighty arms of my redeeming King Jesus. He has defeated death and the sting is gone. Gone? Oh, it does still sting. I feel it now. But Mercy does not feel the sting. No sting.
Last summer I was stung by a bee. It came out of the side mirror of our Yukon and stung me on the arm. Instantly I began beating the bee with my other hand with an amazing amount of distain. There was a hatred somehow for the sting and the stinger. I wanted it dead .. really, really dead; and so I killed the stinger yet the sting remained. In fact, the sting left a tiny little scar that stayed on my arm most of the summer.
The sting of the death of Mercy will most likely stay with me and my family for the rest of our lives. There will be a scar that reminds me both of the distain I have for death, and love I have for the One who defeated death. Jesus is keeping my Mercy safe and sound. My? I guess she never really was mine. I did get to hold her a week ago for a little while. I will get to hold her again. I hate death. Yet it is the portal through which we enter either into eternal life or eternal damnation. This world is the worst hell I will ever experience, and it is also the best heaven for those who are apart from Christ.
Jesus is my help, my strength, and the one who holds my eternity in the palm of his righteous right hand. I am weak and I guess I don’t care who knows. I am held by the One who defines strength. Oh how I love Jesus. And I do sort of still hate bees.