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Life and Death

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My soul has been stretched to the breaking point this week. I am not prone to tears, but this week is different. Wednesday morning I received a text from Gary Black that his son Michael had tragically died. Yesterday my grandson was born. We love the Black family, and in a family of sta…
By Seth Barnes

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My soul has been stretched to the breaking point this week. I am not prone to tears, but this week is different.

Wednesday morning I received a text from Gary Black that his son Michael had tragically died. Yesterday my grandson was born.

We love the Black family, and in a family of stars, Michael in many ways has shown the brightest.

Michael was an outstanding young man. An all-American rugby player and team captain, he was the kind of guy who made everyone have inferiority complexes. He was sharp and funny and dated the best-looking girls.

It seems that everyone knew Michael was amazing except Michael himself. Why he would take his life is still a mystery to most of us. Yes, there had been bouts of depression, but they had been minor and he had been doing so good.

It makes no sense. And you cry out to God with prayers that have no words, that are more like gasps.

And you wait for him to show up somehow. For some hint from heaven that he wasn’t napping and caught unawares. That there is some redemptive purpose on the way. That the cynics won’t carry the day.

And then I get a text that sends me over the edge, as Gary goes to say goodbye to him and heaven opens up and he hears Michael whisper the words we’ve all longed to hear, “Leave me here, I am just fine, you will love this place, daddy.”

Oh my God. I weep just typing those words. How we long to know it’s true. We’re not just making this stuff up.

Jesus IS the resurrection and the life. TODAY. He has the final word. Death is swallowed up in life.

And then there was last night. After waiting all day (and the nine months preceding), Talia gave birth to a beautiful 8 pound, 3 oz baby boy.

When we saw him, our souls ricocheted to a new place.

Here is the proof that God is in his heaven. He is the life-giver.

Yes, there are questions still without answers.

But we know that this thing doesn’t end in tears, but in laughter. The struggle between life and death does end and life wins. Hope wins. We who hope win!

Today, we have proof and in our hearts and we hear a hallelujah at the end of our wordless prayers. It is a mystery, but one that I can fall into and feel safe in.

Perhaps you can join me there. Perhaps you are in the throes of experiencing life and death in the same cramped space of a soul that feels suffocated by pain.

If so, we share the embrace of a God who made us and knows our frame. He knows that we are but dust and welcomes us wherever we are.

I pray that God is meeting you wherever you are and is giving you what you need to make it to a tomorrow where the sun still shines.

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