Some time ago, a friend made a decision I didn’t understand. I admit that. As I was praying for her back then, I said outloud, “I think she did the wrong thing. But I want to be her friend. Lord, help me be a friend.”
In the months to follow, many people told me how sinful her decision was and how she was officially punished for it. God reminded me to pray, “Lord, help me be a friend.”
In time, I better understand her decision. And now I realize that the judgment that was so quickly my first resort is easy within my limited perspective. But Grace is the thing that reminds me that I’m bent toward judgment because of my own puny eyesight. It’s Grace that pushes me to assume Christ is there even when I can’t see Him.
Six years ago we lost our Elise. I know that God allowed that to happen. I knew it then as much as I do now. And yet days after she was born, my body was preparing to nurture a life that wasn’t there. My body literally ached for her. And my heart hurt. Those are contradictions: to want your baby so badly, but to know that God has her and that He’s good. How do I endure those tensions? The same way as with a friend’s decision I don’t understand — with His Grace.
Holidays are a sentimental time. I pull out ornaments from dear friends that remind me of their sweet, tender care over the years. Grant rolls out the Christmas play lists, and I remember the times we sat in the choir loft in our robes listening to that orchestral offertory as he whispered, “This Christmas will be the best one ever!” — anticipating that gift in 1988 that would anticipate our wedding in 1990. Those are treasured memories. God wanted us there. And He wants us here now. That is a sort of contradiction. But in His Grace, we can all still be friends, knowing that in Him we’re all His.