There’s a documentary, a fly-on-the-wall programme I sometimes catch a chunk of at the end of the day – I can’t remember if it’s called “Ambulance’ or ‘Hospital’ or “A&E’ but you get the idea. In the title sequence a small lad, probably about 4, is on a stretcher, his head immobilised by a collar and blocks, and this wee soul is looking at his parents and all the adults around him, saying, quavery and piping, “I am going to be alright, I am going to be very alright.”
At that point I turn off – the poignancy just too much. I don’t volunteer for sadness, even bitter-sweet happy-ending sadness. There is enough in any one life, without witnessing even more.
The bravery of that boy, so obviously afraid but desperately reaching out to reassure his parents, is too much to bear. When we are most afraid, that’s when we are our most courageous.
I have a very dear friend facing the end of life, going on to greater and better, full of trust and love for God as these last days pass. He is at his most courageous right now.
We will all know real poignancy at the end; broken hearted to leave loved ones, the people who mean everything in this world to us, but worn down by weariness, overtaken by acceptance that the time has come, and trust that all will be well… and all will be well.
I saw my friend a few days ago, but now he’s too frail for visitors. He knows that we’re with him, in prayers, united in the eternal bond of brothers and sisters in Christ. Ah, but there’s heart ache enough for any of us just now, so sad to think of him, sad to think of his so devoted wife, and the hard time they’re going through. Sad that no one can step into their pain and take some of it for them.
When I last saw him he was full of thankfulness, thankful for his years of family and work and travel, thankful that he was leaving his wife secure, thankful for his church and friends, but most of all thankful, absolutely full of thanks that he knew God, that he knew God’s love, that he was suffused with God’s love.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
Tonight I thank God for him, and for his family, knowing that they will be held and comforted in the perfect love of our Father.
To understand love, is to accept the cost of loving, not just the joy but also the anguish; that they come together, hand in hand. When we accept the cost we begin to understand why God himself could give us no greater gift, pay no higher price, than Jesus. Love conquers all, even death.
You love him passionately although you have not seen him,
but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy,
indescribably sublime and immersed in glory.
For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory
1 Peter 1:8