My friend is dying. And I am really disillusioned by this reality. Of course I am praying for a miracle, we all are. But unless that miracle comes quickly, the cancer has spread too far, too deep, too much.
This young mom, precious friend, graceful woman is a beautiful part of so many people’s world. And just three weeks ago, she had no reason to give cancer much of a thought. Now it looms in the back of every thought. I hate that.
It’s times like these I open up my Scriptures with a different kind of tenacity. I don’t just want some truth. I need some truth. I need some truth to march into my sagging heart and my off kilter mind and boss me around- reign me in- pull me close.
I need to feel God is still good. God is still just. God is still here.
I know it. I teach it. I believe it. But today I need to feel it. I need to literally feel Him come close and fiercely wrap His most tender mercy around this situation. Around my friend. Around her grieving family. Around all the doubts this is causing in our friends who are mad at God.
And then I remembered something I just read one week ago.
Do you remember when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and were banished from the Garden of Eden? Whenever I’ve read that story, I thought they had to leave paradise because God was punishing them. God was disappointed in them. God was giving them what they deserved.
But I was wrong.
There were two special trees in the Garden of Eden. One was the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’ This was the one with the forbidden fruit. The other was the ‘tree of life.’ This was the one that gave Adam and Eve perpetual life- no diseases- no death- no sagging body parts. (Okay I’m not sure about that last benefit but I’m banking on this reality in heaven.)
When they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered in. Sin corrupted everything. And at that point, it was God’s absolute love and most tender mercy that ushered Adam and Eve out of the Garden. Not His anger or retaliation.
They had to leave. For if they’d been allowed to stay, they would have kept eating from the tree of life and lived forever…. wallowing in sin. Wallowing in all the brokenness sin brings with it. Disease. Fear. Heartbreak. Separation from God. And God couldn’t stand that for the people He loved.
So, it was His love that made them leave. And allowed them to die. So that they could experience the resurrected life His son would one day provide. Brokenness to redemption.
I’m still sad about my friend. And rightfully so. But something about this story… this truth… this new revelation of the unfathomable depth of God’s love settles me. Breathes hope into my dread. And trust into my doubts. And once again, gives me a soft place to land.