Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Mourning -- Sucker Punch

Definition:  suck·er punch
noun  1.  an unexpected punch or blow.
verb  1.  hit (someone) with an unexpected punch or blow.  "Joe sucker-punched him and knocked him out"

This February will mark seven years since Hannah went to Heaven after a year-long battle with brain cancer.  In the early months after her homegoing, life in general felt like one gigantic sucker punch. As time went on, the sucker punches became fewer and farther between, and now they occur only rarely.

And then there was yesterday.

For the last several Sundays, we've had a video presentation early in the service highlighting one ministry of the church.  This Sunday was the youth ministry.

The video consisted of several youth group "alumni", now young adults, each of whom shared what God was doing in their lives and how their time in the youth group had prepared them for what they are doing now.  There were those who had been called by God to be worship leaders, those who had been called by God to attend seminary, those who had been called to by God to serve on the mission field, those who had been called by God to work with youth themselves, etc.  All these fresh young faces, brimming with anticipation and excitement about their future.  So much hope, so much expectancy, so much joy.  It's wonderful to see these young adults who are serving the Lord with such zeal.

But all I could see was the person who was missing.  These were Hannah's peers, the "kids" she had gone on mission trips with, the ones she hung out with on Wednesday and Sunday nights, the ones who attended Disciple Now weekends with her.  Yet she was not in the video, because she died when she was 17, before she ever had the opportunity to graduate high school, go to college, experience the call of God on her life.

Hannah should have been a part of that video.  She should have been flashing her trademark smile as she shared excitedly about how God had called her to be a teacher, or a missionary, or ... who knows what?

I'm one of the sign language interpreters at our church, and I happened to be the one interpreting these video vignettes.  When the video ended, my head and hands moved on, but my heart didn't.  I couldn't shake the fact that Hannah wasn't in that video, and she should have been!

That sucker punch still rankled throughout the day yesterday.  My girl should have been in that video ... but she wasn't.

But slowly, slowly God began to remind me that He did have a call on Hannah's life.  It was a different call than that of the young adults featured in the video, but it was certainly no less of a call than theirs.  What if He had called her to become a teacher or a missionary ... Would her life have had as much of an impact for His kingdom if she had become one of those things?   Or did see the bigger picture for her life, and in His loving sovereignty, call her Home early?

I still wish she had been in that video.  Oh, how I wish she had been in that video.


But I choose to rest in the knowledge that she lived well, she finished well, and she fulfilled God's call for her life in a way that makes this Mama proud.

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."  I Peter 5:10

Photo credit: tim caynes via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC