Monday, February 20, 2017

Part VII - Oh, Say, Can You See What's Happening?

With me at his side, my beloved younger brother, at age 33, died of total and sudden kidney failure. For the entire story, you can read Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here and Part V here and Part VI here. Don't be afraid, the entries are fairly short, easy reads. Either way, here's a synopsis.

I'm sharing the events of that day because they so clearly illustrate the provision of God. I never want to lose sight of that. And I want you to see it too...not just in these pages but in your own lives as well.

So let's look at the astonishing events that took place that day:
  1. Unannounced, my neighbor knocked on my door that morning, insisting I check on my brother Jim. She didn't want me to wait one more day.
  2. When I arrived at Jim's apartment he couldn't move. I wanted to call 911 and he didn't want me to... so I felt immobilized....How in the world did the phone happen to ring when I placed it on the hook?  And it happened to be the visiting nurse who helped us take the next best step.
  3. How was it that my husband came home early from work that day? He never did that! This was before cellphones, so he had no idea that Jim was in the hospital. Joe insisted we go see Jim right away, instead of my plan to wait for visiting hours later that night.
  4. There's very few people I'd leave my 17 day old baby with, so I agreed to go to the hospital right away only if my friend's mother could come babysit. We called, she answered, and, yes, she came right over. 
  5. There was no mistake this happened on Joe's tennis night. Sending Joe to his tennis game gave me undivided time with my brother in what ended up being the final hours of his life. (Jim and I were close. He loved Joe too but Jim would be most comfortable with just me there.)
  6. Jim never slipped into a coma, which meant I was spared having to make treatment decisions for him. I dreaded that possibility which never materialized.
  7. The nun was delayed, apologetically arriving moments after Jim's death. But was that a mistake? Or divine intervention? Jim wouldn't have wanted a stranger in the room and I definitely welcomed her caring presence at that exact moment...How did that happen with such precise timing?
  8. And, finally, those elevator doors.... the elevator doors opened and, at the precise moment I was stepping out of Jim's hospital room, ready to go home for the night, my husband, Joe, was there, returning from his tennis game. That alone mystifies me...After all, Joe had been miles away...hours had transpired...and he the exact moment I needed him!  Who could have arranged that kind of timing? (I know Who.) We couldn't have planned it if we tried. 
Get the message? We get what we need in the moment we need it, don't we?

In the weeks following Jim's death, I remained amazed by all that. I knew everything was out of my control, and yet, everything was so perfected. I could only attribute it to divine intervention, the presence of God in our lives. I even told my neighbor Debbie that she was like an 'angel' because if she hadn't stopped by my house that day, I would never have been with my brother when he died. I couldn't believe the supernatural peace that covered me in my words, thoughts and actions that day.

The amazement didn't last forever. In fact, before long, I lost focus of the grace that filled me that day.

Instead, the dark shadow of grief soon stole my joy. 

I missed my brother. I became angry at his untimely death. I began to think of things I could have done for him...things I should have done.  Deep within, I was conflicted.

I questioned my faith. If God is good, why did He let this happen? Was Jim really in a better place? Did heaven exist? Was Jesus real?

I slipped down a black hole. I was miserable. I was lonely. I was desperate.

That's when I began my search for God.

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