by Sandy Kirby Quandt
What do you say when there are no words? How do you express the devastation your heart feels when tragedy strikes? How do you reconcile something that is irreconcilable? How do you understand something that makes absolutely no sense at all?
The morning of June 1st, 2017, as I sat in the dermatologist’s waiting room for an appointment to remove several stitches from my back, I received a text from Pilot.
Tom died last night.
Tom, Pilot’s oldest brother, was dead at age 58.
Tom the marathon runner. Tom who lived close enough to the beach he walked across the street to surf. Tom who hiked the Appalachian trail with his family. Tom the beloved husband of Brion, father of Michael and Clarisse, son of Ann and Paul, brother of Janice, Nancy, Zach, and Pilot. Tom faithful servant of God. Tom who hadn’t been sick. That Tom died in his sleep. That Tom was dead.
There are no words.
Yet, despite the pain God remains in control. He still sits on his throne. He still has a plan, even when we don’t understand it. Especially when we don’t understand it. God is El Shaddai; the all Sufficient One. Jehovah-rapha; the one who heals broken hearts. Jehovah-shammah; the one who never leaves. El Roi; the one who sees us in our pain. Our God is Jehovah-shalom; our peace.
Maybe, just maybe, that’s what you say when there are no words.
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21 Death came into the world because of what one man (Adam) did, and it is because of what this other man (Christ) has done that now there is the resurrection from the dead. 22 Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, being members of his sinful race, and wherever there is sin, death results.
35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be brought back to life again? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! You will find the answer in your own garden! When you put a seed into the ground it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it “dies” first. 37 And when the green shoot comes up out of the seed, it is very different from the seed you first planted. For all you put into the ground is a dry little seed of wheat or whatever it is you are planting, 38 then God gives it a beautiful new body—just the kind he wants it to have;
51 But I am telling you this strange and wonderful secret: we shall not all die, but we shall all be given new bodies! 52 It will all happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky,[f] and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too. 53 For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever.
54 When this happens, then at last this Scripture will come true—“Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55-56 O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin—the sting that causes death—will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. 57 How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord! I Corinthians 15 (TLB)
I wish you well.
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