Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Selah

~As for man, his days are like grass~
Psalm 103:15

It was the sound of a lawnmower that brought me comfort, the low rumble of the small motor, the steady note of its utilitarian song reaching my ears as it hummed a couple of backyards away.

Comforting because of its nod to routine, the weekly cadence of the landscaping company tending to my neighbor's yard.

Comforting because it speaks to things continuing, grass continuing to grow, routines continuing to be kept.


Comforting in the midst of a hard, hard week.

I've been holding out on you.  We have been through a tough, tough time this last week.  I have retreated to my little blog world, hoping to make you smile, hoping to give you a little food for thought, hoping to encourage you.

And now I need to come clean.

Her name is Amber.. She was 25.  And a week ago today, she passed away after an intense and short four week battle with an aggressive form of leukemia.  She was the wife of an incredible and adoring young man. She was my friend.  Her mother is one of my dearest friends.

And I have no explanation, I have no words wise enough or strong enough or comforting enough.  We prayed, we fasted, we begged, we bargained, we beseeched.

And the Lord chose to take her anyway.

It's not that we haven't experienced difficult things before, events that defy explanation and reason.  It's just that this one seems to bring an even heavier sense of loss.

When I made the discovery years ago that it was time for me to let God out of the little box I had constructed for Him, when I learned that He was more than a distant inventor, passively watching the comings and goings of His little creations,  I thought the scariest part about that recognition was that now God, in my new understanding, could be supernatural.  He could swoop in and do anything, at any time.  I found this to be thrilling and vaguely alarming, this involved, active Creator.  I quickly grew to love this new side of God I had finally opened my eyes to.  And I have seen Him do mighty things.

But I had only expanded my box a bit.

And it is events like this that show me I still need to abolish my box once and for all.

Because the only confines in which the Lord can be contained are within the borders called Trust.

Trusting when reason isn't enough.  Trusting when it all looks and feels wrong.  Trusting when the hurt is too great.  Trust.

So I let the sound of the lawnmower wash over me as I sat in the floor of the bathroom, thinking of Amber, thinking of her husband, her family, her dreams, her life.  The lawnmower hummed on.  And then I heard that whisper.

For He knows how we are formed,
He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the
the wind blows over it and it is
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord's love is with those who fear Him.

We started out in a garden.  We are the Lord's garden still.  And as such, He has the right to rearrange and trim and plant and mulch.  Even when I think that flower bed looked just fine, even when I liked the way things were, it is still His garden.  We are all like grass.  And what is everlasting in the garden of our hearts, what is eternal, is His love for us.

The lawnmower will be part of our experience in this temporal garden.  Sometimes it will come when in our estimation a life has been fully lived, fully walked, fully experienced.  And through tears we can rejoice for the cadence of life.  Other times the lawnmower will sound and it will seem too soon, too early.

But that sound of the lawnmower is the clarion call to eternity.  Eternity.

And that signal sound to eternity, heard through the filter of trust, should be the most comforting sound of all.


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