Trusting in Sovereignty
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
A few weeks ago, we were gathered in the bedroom of my uncle. An uncle who was only 53 years old; only 8 years my senior. The only living son of my elderly grandparents. The only brother left of three sisters. The only husband of my aunt and father of my cousins. If only cancer hadn't invaded his otherwise healthy body. If only there was something we could all do.
His health turned on a Thursday, following a day that he had enjoyed, with visits from friends; a day filled with conversation, laughter and some tears. On his bed, he slipped into what is medically referred to as a terminal coma. He had been diagnosed with a rare liver tumor six months prior. Through the course of his treatment, his faith had remained strong-a testimony to all who knew him as well as all the people he encountered during this time. Now was the test of our faith-his family, friends, pastor, and neighbors.
As we gathered in their home, I watched as my aunt lovingly cared for him, ministered to him and still maintained her faith and composure. My 90 year old grandmother (his mother) remained by his side, holding his hand, whispering memories and loving words into his ears. My 94 year old grandfather (his father) alternated between being at his side and sitting with us as we waited and wondered.
My uncle had chosen to remain at home in his final hours but as most people would, we talked of taking him to the hospital. Surely there was something more that could be done. The hospice nurse was consulted, pain medications were administered but we were told that this was the end. Through the night my grandmother sat with him and at one point she tenderly laid beside him in the bed reminiscing about how she did that when he was a young boy to help him fall asleep with security. Other family members and friends sat through the night to offer comfort and support. As much as we wanted to hold on to him, God wanted him in his heavenly home.
By Friday afternoon, his vital signs were weaker, his lifeless body unresponsive. We were told it would not be long. As I pondered the events, words and emotions of the past two days, God revealed to me that as much as we desire to have our loved ones here on earth with us and as many heroic measures as we seek in treatments of disease, HE is sovereign. We must trust in that sovereignty, even when we lose someone dear to us. To trust in that sovereignty during loss is to also respect the relationship which exists between that person and God- a relationship that is much stronger than any we have here on earth.