Things aren't quite right are they? Our days are filled with continual reminders that we are not yet home and that this world can be a brutal, hostile reminder of that.
Today friends of my sister and brother-in-law lost their 5 year old boy, to this H1-N1 pandemic. Can I be honest? This sucks. I want to say that I can elaborate on how God is at work through this, and how suffering brings about endurance and depth of faith, and all of that may be true, but the fact that in a few days a little 5 year old boy will be put in the ground sucks. There is no good explanation or reason, except that we are not yet home.
And what bothers me maybe the most is what this family will hear over the next few days, weeks, months...you know the cliche's and have maybe said them..."He's in a better place." Well that's fine, but it doesn't make the pain or how much this sucks go away. "God got another angel." Ok, if this is God's doing, I have some serious questions for Him. "Everything happens for a reason." Fine, but this thing that happened sucks and the reasons for it suck.
The Jewish people have a beautiful tradition that might help us grieve and comfort with one another a little more gracefully than saying these awkward, unhelpful words. It's called sitting "sheva". The first example of this comes from scripture, in the story about a man named Job who had endured his fair share of hardships, pain and circumstances that flat out sucked.
Job 2:11 "When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was."
May we learn from this example what it means to grieve with those who grieve and may you remember the Marotta family who has dealt with unspeakable pain in the last 24 hours. Pray that God would answer their cries, their questions and their heartache as only He can.