Wrigley is one of the best decisions we’ve made as a family. Lucy was a good one too, but the context for Wrigley was much deeper. Pets bring healing to hardened minds and hearts, and they bring comfort for hurting and grieving souls. God’s presence is immeasurable, and I sense it through our dogs.
We buried David over six months ago, but Wrigley was born about two months ago. An animal is never more important than a human being, but Wrigley is in her own way comforting us in our grief. There will come a day when death will not be, but in light of our very real struggle with a fallen world death gives us a time frame to count our days as the Bible encourages us to do. Pets have a way of reminding us to do that. They remind us to live in the moment, play, forgive, go to bed, eat and do it all again. They aren’t worried about their 401k, where their next meal will come from, or where they’ll sleep at night. They don’t ponder regrets from the past, other animals who have stabbed them in the back or whether or not so-and-so is a good hire. They are happy just to be.
I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m able to be thankful for the years I got to be with David, rather then regret that he’s gone. You’ve heard the quote. Don’t be sad it’s over. Be thankful it happened. I hate pithy bumper sticker slogans, but you get my point. Well, the New Earth will not have regret, sadness or bumpers thank God. I hope there aren’t cars there. I regress.
Wrigley has shown us that life does go on. There’s not a moment I don’t think about David, and there’s not been a day I haven’t cried in grief since he left. Death is so final, but I know as a Christ follower there is life after death. Tears are freeing really, and as I write this through red teary eyes I think I can say that crying is a gift from the Father for us to release pain. I’ve always been soft hearted like that, and I think that’s good in a world that is hard as a rock. I know there are many more grieving people in the world because of this pandemic, and my heart goes out to them because I know how they feel. My heart is especially tender for the parents who have lost children, and I bow in prayer everyday that my God protect my Chloe. I don’t know what David is experiencing right now, but I’d like to think he is still looking out for Chloe. Chloe misses that man deeply, and she’s had a tougher time with it than the rest of us because this is the first deep seated loss she has had to endure. She’s been resilient, but the fact that Bop poured into her from birth, baptized her at church and breathed his last while she held his hand is too much for a fourteen-year-old to bear. It’s almost too much for this dad to write. We miss you so much David. We’re thankful you aren’t here to suffer with COVID-19, but it still doesn’t fill the painful void in our hearts and minds. We will never ever forget you, and we just don’t understand why these things happen. We understand how, but the why we will forever wonder.
He made me a better man. His spirit lives on through the Spirit, and I’m so thankful for that, but death was not made for man, and man was not made for death. I will forever fight the darkness of death even in my own demise, not because I can overcome it, but because my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ did.
Ahmaud Arbery’s family can also know that even in their darkest of moments that they too will see their dear Ahmaud again. That promise is somehow a consolation to those of us in grief, but don’t always think you have to say something when you’re with those who just lost loved ones. Don’t be weird and clingy, but know that the ministry of presence is enough. Satan uses chaos, guilt and lies to convince you that you have to do more, but even now a text or phone call can speak light into the darkness. The angels who walk among us comfort us I know. They aren’t omnipresent like the Father, Son and Spirit, but they are powerful beings who bring peace into our midst. I love thinking about that. I love reading my friend Joe Beam’s book Seeing The Unseen too. His mastery on the unseen I’ve not seen its equal. I read it at least every two years, but I’m starting to think I should read it at least every year. It’s a book you’ll never forget once you read it, and whether you agree with his conclusions or spectulations in some cases doesn’t really matter because his development of the fact that there are angels and demons is spot on.
I am weary of the grief we’ve been going through. I’m tired of all the talking heads who wax on about COVID-19. Some of them make good points. Most of them don’t. I know even less, and I’m glad I do because I’ve got my head down to do the next thing as the late Elizabeth Elliot encouraged us to do. I’m not against knowledge, but even the brightest minds in medicine have not answers for us regarding this virus.
Nashville is opening it’s bars and restaurants to half capacity on Monday. I’m not going. I think it’s premature. When I go clean a house I wear a mask, spray generous amounts of alcohol every where, and I maintain a six feet space from homeowners. I’m not afraid of death, but I also believe there’s more who need to know the love of Jesus because of my efforts in this life. This life will end. I’m counting on it. I’m not afraid of it ending. I don’t subscribe to Hollywood’s dark thinking about death. Yes I grieve. I hate the fact that we have to say goodbye to each other here, but I’m headed to a place where I can hug David again. I used to believe that because my parents did, but I assure you my faith has been put through fire, and a bullet through my head is the only way it will stop here on this earth.
I wish I could describe the confidence I have for what Jesus means to me, but this will have to do. Darkness has never been man’s friend. It’s distracted him from day one, and it hasn’t let up tonight, nor will it in the morning. But it hasn’t stopped the work of angels. God’s message of love, joy and peace continues to spread even through a sinister pandemic. How it started doesn’t really matter because it’s here. What will you do when death comes knocking on your door is the real question.
Jesus is a liar, lunatic or the LORD, so know this. Every time you write and the date on a check, and you write out 2020, know that 2020 is referring directly to the man Jesus Christ. Liberal theologians and unbelievers will say it refers to the common error (C.E.), but the common error began after the death of Jesus on a Roman cross, and the reason they’ve never been able to recover his body is that the resurrection happened, he ascended into the heavens, and 40 days later he sent the Holy Spirit. They keep trying to silence that fact today, and there are more martyrs today than there were then, but his message is unstoppable.
Are we unscathed from pain and suffering? No way. COVID-19 has brought that really close to home, if not directly to your home. The worst isn’t over dear one, but even with more dying on the way my hope is not in not dying, it’s in not living with the confidence that God gives me through Christ Jesus.
I beg you to find a church to help you do this. You’re welcomed to join us Sunday at Cross Point. We’ve been having over 50k people join our virtual services, and one Sunday when this first started 114 people became followers of Christ. Jesus wants to be found. He is not hiding. He isn’t wearing a mask. He’s the great Physician who conquers physical and spiritual death, and he wants to conquer the fear you fight everyday. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow. I know that when my tears stream down like ocean waves that there are angels attending me dispatched from the Father of light. His “silence” isn’t indifference precious one. It’s a whisper that he loves you more than you can imagine. We used to be driven to the altar out of fear. We don’t need another ounce of fear in our lives. We need to the enduring love of Jesus who brings revival to hardened souls who hate. He turns that hate into a loving presence that overshadows fear, and the walls come down. White people can stop shooting black people. Nations don’t have to wipe out other nations with a virus, and leaders don’t have to be jerks.
I pray that revival will come. I pray if nothing else that COVID-19 will be a distant memory as nations love nations in the presence of our almighty Father. It grieves our God when we abuse, bully and murder each other. That is not the world he had in mind. It’s not the world we have in mind, but it begins inside each one of us. Soften your heart. Open it to the love of Jesus written about in the Bible.