Eleven Years Ago Today
Eleven years ago today a friend of mine awakened with great anticipation. She put on a beautiful white dress and carried a bouquet of flowers as she walked down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams. A wonderful celebration ensued which she shared with friends and family. Then she embarked on a new journey with laughter and joy. Eleven years ago today I awakened in a hospital. I was groggy, achy, and couldn’t use my hands because they were too swollen, a byproduct of the seven hour surgery I had twenty-four hours before to combat breast cancer. Surrounded by family, we rejoiced that the cancer was gone. Then together, we began a much longer than expected journey filled with pain, hardships, and unknowns.
My friend celebrates her eleventh anniversary today with more joy than usual as she nearly lost her husband just over a week ago. She is spending it with him, in the hospital, by his bedside. Today, I have the privilege of sharing this story with you. And later on, I get to spend time with my precious granddaughters.
That’s how life in a broken, fallen, sinful world works. While some are weeping, others rejoice. As some face their toughest day, others celebrate their best. I remember thinking there were people getting married as I laid in that hospital bed on that Saturday morning eleven years ago today. I never dreamed the Lord would allow my path to cross with one of them.
I’m thankful for our God Who brings beauty from ashes (Is 61:3). But I also rejoice that He never wastes any of our pain or suffering. Instead, He wants to use them to teach us things we can learn no other way, equip us to fulfill His plans in our lives, and draw us ever closer to His side. I love the proclamation in Romans 5:3-5: Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…. (NIV)
One day, Jesus will return. Not only will He redeem those who have received His gift of salvation, but also the creation itself. Then what’s promised in Revelation 21:1-5 will come to pass:
…I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"…. (NIV)
Until that day, may we be thankful for the good times; choose to rely on and trust God in the dark days; and praise Him for whatever comes our way, knowing He will carry, sustain, and bless us through it all.
Just something I’m counting on along the way.