holding hands

I have had the privilege recently of doing life with several friends as they escorted their parents to heaven’s gate.  It is the season of life our age group is in, and I can tell you from our own experience with Bill’s mom a few years ago, it is a tough phase.  Watching those you have long thought of as stronger than you, weaken before your very eyes is daunting.  Sharing the journey with doctors, hospitals, labs, and insurance companies is exhausting.  The general consensus among my friends is that old age sucks, and that a quick exit is preferred to a long drawn out decline.  However, in every instance I have been amazed at the hand of God to restore broken things, before the last breath was released.  If ever there was a doubt that healing of relationships is possible it has been dispelled as I have watched miracles happen…over and over again.

Every family has their demons.  We all know how to push one another’s buttons, and which wounds are most tender.  In the fading of life, those scars are either ripped open, or healed with the balm of Gilead.  My eyes have seen the redemptive power of God move, as compassion rises above contempt. Caring covers condescension. Resentment flees the scene, and love…the hard won kind…rushes in.  Beauty of such magnitude takes my breath away.

Sitting in the midst of suffering has a way of softening old hurts, and as much as we want the suffering to end, it serves its purpose. It draws the poison out of relationships and cleanses the toxins. All the past fades into the background as the present moment shows what is significant and what is not. Clarity brings forth forgiveness.  Forgiveness gives birth to freedom.  Freedom lightens the heart and conjures up the good, because mixed in with the bad, there is always some good that has been forgotten.  Even time, when it is so very short, is redeemed and expanded to make up for years of distance and strain.

In each and every instance, I have watched God do his redemptive, restoring work for those who open their hearts to it and are willing to step into that sacred space.  It is holy ground. It is a place where humility reigns, forgiveness blossoms, and respect takes precedence. The spirit of reconciliation hovers. Love is cultivated. In the midst of the dying, he breathes life into those places of the heart which need his touch, as only he can do, and the result is peace that passes understanding. The transition from this world to the next serves its purpose, and as the last exhale is released, God’s redemption takes fractured relationships and broken bodies and makes them whole in the spirit. The splendor of such quiet, holy moments is a beauty to behold.  Heaven touches Earth, and in that space, the cross displays its power to redeem ALL things. The finished work of Christ is made manifest in such instances.  The only response is awe, reverence, and a bowed knee in worship as redemption secretly wins the day.

5 thoughts on “Redemption

  1. This is probably the most poignant of all your writings for me and my family at the loss of our dad. He was a selfish, hurtful and mentally torturous man. His life was twisted and because of it, such was ours. But in the end…as he lie on his death bed, we gathered around him with an overwhelming abundance of love, laughter and fond remembrances. On the day he died we lay with him on his bed and cuddled him, sang to him and prayed with him as he began to spend more time in the spiritual realm and less with us around him. In the natural scheme of things he did not deserve it. But as you say so tenderly…”God’s redemption takes fractured relationships and broken bodies and makes them whole in the spirit. The splendor of such quiet, holy moments is a beauty to behold. Heaven touches Earth, and in that space, the cross displays its power to redeem ALL things. The finished work of Christ is made manifest…”

    • Maria, yours is another example of what I was trying to express here. The past month I have had 3 friends lose parents, and another whose dad is about to go into hospice. Yet, in each circumstance healing has occurred at the end. Just so very like God to redeem in the 11th hour…

  2. Hi Michelle,
    Again you write a beautiful tribute to families. Maria shared her story that is more often true than not. Someone in the family has the Love of God in their heart that will overcome the years of conflict. Yet there are families like mine that end still in estrangement. My parents were dead over three years before I found out. My parents chose to turn their back on me and my daughter. All because they would not or could not accept their son as being Gay. I have been able to overcome my anger by praying for them. Yet it breaks my heart that we could not reconcile.
    Thank you for sharing a sensitive issue, especially at this time of the year. I hope it helps heal those that are grieving. God Bless.

    • Yes, I have seen this as well. The people have to be willing participants. It is unfortunate that sometimes they are not. It creates wounds that are deep, and that makes me sad for those left behind to try to process. Prayer is the only way I have found to lay these bitter moments down. Praying that the love of your Granddad can somehow fill the gap left by your parents. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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