The words below made their way from my heart onto paper last summer but never farther. Somehow, the act of writing satiated me. No need to publish.
Today, stumbling across an ad for a movie called “I Still Believe”, I stopped short. Can’t really explain… but it took my breath away for a few seconds. Those hard, hard words. It’s my story…and it must be theirs too. I can hardly wait to hear more!
God is sovereign. And I still believe. It’s time to say so.
Love Is Stronger Than Death
I twist myself around until I can see the back of the ambulance. My eyes rush past arms working the rhythmic motions of chest compressions and lock with the eyes of our friend, Dustin. They are hollow. Silent words fly between us.
The moment firebrands onto my brain. I feel the warfare, hot and burning. I feel the love for my son, strong and solid.
Now I am standing at the foot of the ER bed while scrub-clad blurs work furiously with their hands. A nurse holds defibrillator paddles she never gets to use because, as someone keeps saying, there is no heart signal. Disbelief fills me like a fog.
The doctor’s face is inches from mine, reciting all the reasons they must stop CPR—asking my permission. Permission? She must be joking. I can’t possibly say the word Stop. This is my son!
Apparently not able to hear my mind-screams, she moves in closer to my muted face, raises her voice to shout level and repeats the truth: That the sweetest heart I’ve ever known in my life has no signal left inside it.
I am Shadrach staring at the fire. I am Martha at the tomb. I am Thomas by the wound.
Out of my mouth comes the hardest word I have ever said.
And out of my heart, the hardest phrase — I still believe!
And just like that, I feel solid granite behind my back, strong arms circling around me. It is God, the Abba Father, whose name I’ve been repeating over and over for the last hour, right with me. It’s as if I slammed into His chest and am being held firmly in place by indescribable strength. I feel love for my son stronger and deeper than ever and, incredibly, I suddenly experience this miraculous Truth-
Love is stronger than Death.
In that moment, and in the weeks of bewildering haze that follow, I discover a second truth which astonishes my fear-prone heart: There is something you can do now that will make all the difference in your then.
Love your people. Do not restrain your love. Do not hold back. Love like crazy, love fully! Look in eyes. Be present to Love. So often we measure love as less or more. We worry that perhaps we love one child more than another. But no. Love is like a precious jewel, shimmering in all shapes and colors, and is never to be measured by amount but rather, treasured for its uniqueness in every relationship.
Love deeply and you will find, in your moment of greatest crisis, that Love is stronger than Death! You will find the same God who gave you the love is right there, holding you with a power that is so real it is Solid Rock against your back.
Just like Martha, your “Yes, Lord, I (still) believe” will fold you into a love you never knew existed. (John 11:27)
The One who is stronger than the strong man arrives right on time. (Luke 11:22)
It is true you cannot keep every person safe, always. You watch as the unthinkable happens to others and undeniably, it could happen to you.
Oh, my friend, God doesn’t just show up to your calamity in some wispy, nebulous, way. He’s not simply hanging out, absorbing a few more prayers than usual. No! He appears with a power that is stronger than the love you felt as they placed your newborn baby in your arms. Stronger than the force that made you run toward the road, pulling your toddler back from traffic, stronger than the emotions that welled up inside you when that bully shoved your skinny son.
There is no way to describe that strength to you but trust me on this: You needn’t waste another moment of your time worrying. When you love deeply with a God love, you will find, in your time of greatest crisis, Love is still stronger, and Jesus is, indeed, enough.
Does that fact wipe away all the emotions? Oh never. I sobbed as I leaned on that Solid Rock. I still do. Sometimes I felt as though I were melting, dissolving in my own grief, disappearing from the world of the living while still living. For months, I stumbled along, as though walking backward with my head down.
But through all the feelings, the strength of those everlasting arms tightly around me, never letting go…I tell you, His grip on me was confidently strong and unfailingly comforting, and it will be for you too.
Like a mama holding her crying babe, whispering,
I’ve got you. You’re okay.