It doesn’t happen when it’s raining.
It happens on a gorgeous fall day when the bright sunshine and the birdsongs seem almost insensitive.
Tragedy strikes and it’s unthinkable.
The man who taught you your favorite Bible story and how to share the Gospel is gone. The woman who taught you why modest is hottest and that God’s word is more compelling than the camp drummer is gone. Their two boys, who sat in your lap on bus rides as kids and grew into young men of faith are gone.
How can it be real? You want to know exactly what happened, as if that would bring them back. Your brain focuses on pieces of information you can process.
“What time is it?”
“Have I eaten yet?”
“Has anyone told Kayla?”
A six car pile up caused by “unknown reasons” that took the lives of the most beautiful, servant-hearted family is not in the plan. It’s not even in our realm of possibility.
They were supposed to have years. They were supposed to read Scripture at your wedding someday. They were supposed to get to leave this world old and grey with all their energy spent.
But they didn’t.
So you go to your church and you hug as many people as you can. You picture him worshiping so passionately and her quiet strength beside him. You notice the void left in the pews and it might as well be a canyon.
No one knows what to say. No one has the answers. This isn’t in the church bylaws. They don’t teach you in seminary what to do when a phone call knocks the wind out of you. So we cry, and we grieve, and we crawl together to the foot of the cross to ask for the strength to do what we cannot do.
These are the days when it really sinks in. We are not home. These are the days when the longing is an ache. But isn’t that longing right where we need to be?
Because even in the midst of the unthinkable there are more reasons to rejoice than there are to despair. That’s the Gospel. That’s hope. That’s what will carry us through.
You take a deep breath and turn your face to the sunshine. You rejoice in the birdsongs because you know there was no one more eager to meet his Maker than Michael Cruce. Because of Christ he and his family are with Him for eternity. Someday we will be with them.
The sun sets. It will rise again tomorrow. By God’s grace and day by day we all get a little closer to home.