Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Desolation and Comfort

“Good Mourning My Love”

I Thessalonians 4:13that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope

I drive a transport at night to help support my woodworking business until it can become profitable. My load delivers across the street from a large facility for city buses from the region. When I leave the industrial park I meet dozens of oncoming buses finishing their runs. They display a French and English sign to indicate their status. The English sign says Out of Service. The French sign has only one word, Désolé.

As the empty buses roar by, I almost shiver. The word désolé brings English words to my mind such as desolate, barren, waste and from the dictionary, bleak, stark, blasted. I’m not much for listening to the radio when I’m driving so I do a lot of thinking, praying – and feeling. This French word can also be linked to feeling forlorn, black, afraid, sorry(be regretful).

Susie talked about the hole in her heart, an unfillable hole, and that Christy is irreplaceable – there is none like her. I understand and feel that emptiness, that almost barren, waste place in the heart, the loss of the earthly presence of our dear sister Christy, one who mothered me in the Lord for so many years over the three thousand miles that separated us. A hole in the heart that only the Lord can fill. A space that needn’t be filled with grief and despair.

I am presently completing a casket for a local man whose wife belongs to the Lord, but he has waited his whole life to make the decision to accept the Lord. He has brain cancer and with the disease and the treatment has a profound loss of his faculties. His wife stays by his hospital bed faithfully trying to pray and encourage him into the Kingdom. I am easily reminded of the condition of the lost before the Lord when those empty buses pass by and the word désolé flashes before my eyes time after time – désolé – desolate, without Christ. What emptiness.

My dear wife Nancy has only met Christy in person once, when she was visiting in our area, but has talked to her on the phone and has grown to love her. Of late when I come into the house from the shop, Nancy will be sitting at the computer reading Christy’s blog, crying, copying the articles and photos onto cd for keeping. Last night before I left in the transport she said that she hadn’t found 1 Thess. 4:13 in the blog so I suggested that maybe we should contribute.

When I came downstairs this morning my wife’s dictionary was on the computer desk, open to the words desolate and despair, highlighted in magic marker. Under desolate she had highlighted the description, wretched because broken-hearted, without hope, and unable to be consoled or comforted. Under despair were underlined, a feeling that nothing good can happen, and the word discouragement. Don’t these descriptions characterize the world’s sorrow in death? They can also be ours without the encouragement and promises from God’s Word.

On top of the dictionary were notes she had made from her morning devotions. At the bottom of the note she had written a “good morning” salutation to me, which had been misspelled Good Mourning My Love.

Nancy is slightly dyslexic when it comes to backing vehicles up and putting letters together, but as I wrote my thoughts down and looked at her notes I realized that I was to have good mourning about Christy’s passing, as in

I Thessalonians 4:

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

I had the privilege of talking to Christy one last time in the hospital and was delighted that she recognized my voice right away. The nurses were bathing her and we weren’t able to talk long. It was to be our last goodbye down here. I shared Hymn 109 from the Little Flock Hymnbook because earlier I’d heard churchbells in our little town playing the tune, and the words Thou Lord our all must be came to my heart as I got closer to the sound and recognized the tune. Jesus was and is Christy’s all.

Jesus! That name is love,
Jesus, our Lord!
Jesus, all names above,
Jesus, the Lord!
Thou, Lord our all must be;
Nothing that's good have we,
Nothing apart from Thee,

Jesus, our Lord!

As Son of man it was,
Jesus, the Lord!
Thou gav'st Thy life for us,
Jesus, our Lord!
Great was indeed Thy love,
All other loves above,
Love Thou didst dearly prove,
Jesus, our Lord!

Righteous alone in Thee,
Jesus, the Lord!
Thou wilt a refuge be,
Jesus, our Lord!
Whom then have we to fear,
What trouble, grief, or care,
Since Thou art ever near,
Jesus, our Lord!

Soon Thou wilt come again,
Jesus, the Lord!
We shall be happy then,
Jesus, our Lord!
When Thine own face we see,
Then shall we like Thee be,
Then evermore with Thee,
Jesus, our Lord.

Phil Brown

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