I often wonder what it was like for Mary as she stood at the cross watching her son die. As a momma to three sons, I can hardly think about it without welling up with tears. Momma’s aren’t supposed to bury their sons. But she did. He was dead. Was it the end?
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Hebrews 2:9
When my oldest son left for college I had all the feels. Will he ever come back for dinner? Will I ever get to really talk with him again- a valid concern since he had announced that college guys don’t text their moms. I felt sure it was the end of something that had been so precious to me, parenting this cool kid.
Our friend, Jeff was 36 years old when he went in for unexpected heart surgery. He and his wife wife Kelly had two little girls under the age of five at the time. Kelly told me that the day of surgery she was in autopilot, even denial as she hung out in the waiting room with family. “I think if I allowed myself to comprehend that he could die, I would not have functioned at all.”
My husband and I adopted our two youngest boys in 2009, after fostering for three years. During that time, we learned that loving our sons would look very different than anything we had known before. They have Reactive Attachment Disorder among other mental health diagnoses. Their constant fight for control of all things results in frequent rages and meltdowns. With each passing year the rages seem to come less frequently giving hope against what we’ve been told by professionals and wonder – could it ever end?
What about you? Think for a few minutes about a time or situation where you felt like it was the end. Have you had a marriage end in divorce? A miscarriage? Lose a job that you loved?
Faced a serious illness? Send a baby off to college or to serve in the military?
Life throws so much at us and it can seem like the end of what we hold dear. That son of mine who I feared I might not really get to talk to again. Well, he is married with two daughters. He is homeschooling my youngest two sons and we have wonderful conversations almost every morning over coffee as we start our day. Our home is filled with him, his wife and girls every Sunday for our family dinner. It wasn’t the end at all, but the change from something wonderful into something better.
Kelly tells me that the day of Jeff’s surgery was definitely a day that HE, God carried her. Jeff will tell you that the surgery was certainly an end, but not in a bad way. It was and end to him leading his life building his own kingdom and the beginning of focusing on building God’s kingdom. Jeff is now the Operations Manager at Virginia Tech Dining Services in Blacksburg, VA where he is respected and loved by the students who, like me, get to witness the something better of his experience daily.
Maybe, you are if praying for, even begging for the end of something. Financial difficulties? Unhealthy relationships? Tweenager rages?
We recently took a weekend trip with our boys. Other than the typical sibling rivalry, the trip went unusually well. We talked about whether or not we were seeing the end to some of the RAD behaviors that have ruled our family for years now. We stopped to do some shopping and, like it often does, the rage came out of nowhere and our 11-year-old completely lost it in the retail store. There was screaming, aggression and word vomit. The stares of strangers with no understanding cut right through us. The familiar but unwanted feelings burning hot like an inferno in our hearts were overwhelming.
When Mary left Calvary, I wonder if she immediately believed that Jesus’ death wasn’t the end. When I sit and talk with my son offer coffee about all sorts of things, I can’t help but imagine that their conversations included what was to come. Even so, watching your child die had to feel like the end, don’t you think?
I’m so glad that the most horrific end, isn’t. Something better was coming. Life, eternal.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? John 11:25-26
And because of this- because Jesus lives we can keep pressing on through the ends we long for, and hope and rejoice in the end, that isn’t.