Death had forgotten us. Or so we thought.
The first encounter we had with her was back in 2013 when she came for my great grandma, bless her soul. She was of ripe age to be harvested by this greedy hoarder of souls, and although we were unwilling, we let her take my dear grandma. At this point, we thought to strike a deal with Lady Death, “Only come for those whose age is ripe”. A deal was brokered… Or so we thought.
Fast forward, 5 years down the line. The dread mistress struck, seemingly unable to keep her insatiable gluttonous appetite for souls in check. She struck hard, fast and suddenly, the deal disregarded. We had little to no time to brace for impact. The outcome, a catastrophic and irrevocable change of lives. Scars inflicted that will take eons to heal.
About three weeks ago, I remember my mum calling me, requesting me to put my uncle before The Lord in prayers, he was terribly ill. The doctors couldn’t figure out just yet what was wrong with him. His situation went downhill real fast, and soon, he was in HDU and finally ICU. I remember how hard I prayed. It was a prayer I breathed throughout the day as I worked, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would get better. Sure enough, on talking to my dad, he confirmed that the doctors were saying there was good progress. Hopes skyrocketed.
And then, disaster struck.
He was gone. We had lost him.
I cannot even begin to attempt to describe the impact the news had on me. There was a loud ringing in my ears I couldn’t comprehend. Then I heard ragged heavy breaths that slowly morphed into harsh sobs before finally blooming into heart-wrenching weeping. It took me a while to discover I was the one who was weeping. My whole chest and abdominal cavity felt very hollow, as though they housed an abyss. My hands and feet went numb.
In between my weeping and utterances of denial, I questioned God. A lot! I put Him on trial. I was both the advocate for my rested uncle and the judge of the proceedings. I was angry! “Lord, You promised to heal him,” I thought, claiming the promises from the Bible. “You always promise to listen. Why didn’t You listen to me? To us as a family?” I had a lot of questions.
And then, there was the guilt. “Lord, did you allow him to die because I wasn’ diligent enough in prayer at times? Because that one time I was so tired from work I began praying, but never did get to ‘Amen’ until morning? Or maybe I didn’t pray hard enough? Did I fail my uncle?” To say I felt devastated will be the grossest understatement of the millennium. I was gutted.
While all this was going through my mind, I remembered two stories in the Bible, that of the leprous man and that of the Centurion; both found in Matthew 8. An I repeated their words to God over and over, “Lord, if thou wilt, make my uncle whole.” “Lord, speak the word only, and my uncle will be healed.” But God allowed him to rest. We don’t know why, and we never will until that bright and cloudless morning.
“I questioned God. A lot! I put Him on trial.”
Later, after the highest tide of grief had passed, I reviewed my prayers, and I had to repent and ask God for forgiveness. You see, I was angry, not because I was justified to be but because God had not worked according to MY will. I mean, sure, I was technically praying for His will to be done; but the undertones of my prayers were for Him to do MY will, to grant MY wish. And when He did actually do HIS will, I became an angry and petulant child.
God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” We will never understand why God allowed my uncle to rest, but in all things, we trust Him and His ways.
It has been a long week, coming to terms with the fact that my uncle is gone, but the Lord is my strength. He will strengthen us, He will heal us, and above all, He will help us to overcome and move forward.
Fare thee well, uncle!
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 New King James Version (NKJV)
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?