After a sunny and cloudy, windy and cold, achingly beautiful April day, Cynthia breathed her last and danced into the presence of the Lord. The hospice nurse called me after 7 PM and said, ‘Drive carefully but come right away’. When we arrived three good friends were sitting with her; they left as we surrounded her bed. I was able to talk her through her last 30 minutes on this earth, reassuring her yet again that we would be OK, that she could leave behind all her back pain and allergies and arthritis, and that her dear Dad Howard was waiting for her . . . he who studied light all his life would have even more to tell her about it now, having lived in absolute Light since his passing in 2003.
Weeks ago I was crying out “It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this!” We had first fallen in love exactly 40 years ago, in the time of the lilacs blooming in Illinois in 1972. As soon as that cry rang from my heart, I heard the echo of the first time it had sounded: when God Himself cried it out as Adam and Eve left the Garden, and the blight of death and destruction started to spread over and through all of Creation.
No, it wasn’t supposed to turn out like this: evil and selfishness and nasty diseases that spring out of nowhere and destroy precious people were NOT part of His plan. But we know that our Redeemer lives, and that His love triumphs over death.
Since I wrote yesterday about His terrible love, I realized that although literally thousands of people were praying for Cynthia to be healed and to stay here, the Lord Himself was jealous for her to be in His presence. I have often taught, too glibly, that God’s love is infinite; but what that means right here and now, for me, is that His love for Cynthia outweighs all of our prayers . . . His love is dense beyond our imagination.
Many of you have also heard me teach this principle: “When we pray, we are trusting God; when He doesn’t answer, He is trusting us.” God Himself has entrusted us with unanswered prayers for Cynthia. He is trusting us to go on trusting Him, and to follow Him not because of what He does for us or what we would want Him to do; but to follow because He is God, and we are not.
By His grace, we are trusting Him, and at peace in His sovereign decision to not answer our prayers. We do not understand; but as we have trusted, we have peace. Phil prayed a beautiful prayer after Cynthia’s passing; Amy and Alice are in peace too.
Dear ones, the Lord Himself has entrusted us with unanswered prayers, and that is an immense privilege. Cynthia trusted Him until the end, and on through it. And now she no longer sees through a glass darkly, but face to face.
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Tom, for Phil, Amy and Alice