I was off from preaching on Sunday so we attended our own church; it was good to see everyone. I sat in the pew and read in the bulletin that an 80-something farmer had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The retired farmer and his wife have been a special encouragement to me in my ministry. This came as a total surprise not only to us but also to them. We talked, hugged, shed tears and prayed; life must go on.
At noon we attended a fund raiser for a family who lost their 29 year old husband, father, son and brother after a short battle with a respiratory disease. During the months of his illness, the family has incurred monumental medical bills. The young couple grew up in the Danube-Renville-Clara City area but now live in Maple Grove. Some people in our community took the bull by the horns and organized this fund raiser. The turn out was tremendous. People came from a 30+ mile radius; the event went off without a hitch. In spite of the circumstances, there was much joy and tears at this event.
My wife Judi asked “Do other communities have fund raisers for people in trouble as much as they do in this area?” I hadn’t thought of it before but probably as our numbers dwindle on the prairie, we are becoming closer to one another. The hurt and the joy seem to hit closer to home. Upon a little investigation, we found out that some communities, even on the prairie, do and others do not.
I got home to find a message on my phone; friends whom I have met through preaching called to say their 27 year old married son had died in his sleep sometime Sunday morning. We were shocked. I visited them Sunday night. We cried, we hugged and we prayed.
While I traveled in one direction, Judi headed the opposite direction to attend the Visitation for the mother of some friends of ours. This lovely lady had lived a good, long life and truly loved the Lord and was looking forward to “going home”. She had had her sorrows also losing her husband and 2 grandsons and then 2 of her daughters within a few months. She still trusted God and knew He was in control.
So goes life; joy mingled with tears. We scramble to ask why? We might not verbalize it but we wonder why.
As I drove through the rain on Sunday night, Isaiah 57:1-2 came to mind: “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” Life is short. Tell your loved ones you love them. Live out that love in word and deed. Make sure you let your loved ones know where you are spiritually so there will be no concern or doubt. Get right with Jesus.
When you read this you may think how sad to find out you have lung cancer, how sad that a 29 year old father of two dies after battling a disease for some months. How sad a young wife wakes up to find her young, healthy husband has passed away. How sad that a mother buries two of her children in less than 6 months.
As we read this, we are grateful this hasn’t happened to us but be aware, some day we will see the somber face of doctor say, “you have cancer” or we will get the phone call that says your son has passed away. I ask you brother and sister; will you be ready when our call comes? Yes, some day our call will come. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says: 1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
Yes, tears mingled with joy—that’s life.