On May 7, 2009 an amazing man was taken from this world...a son, a brother, a husband, a dad, a grandfather, a friend. In the days preceding Chuck's death there was much pain and suffering...pain because there was a reality that was drawing near though the day was still unknown to us. The unfairness of our impending loss felt so very unfair, but when the Lord finally took Chuck to be with him I felt so much joy amidst the grief. Joy because Chuck was finally free...free from pain, free from suffering. Chuck lived with kidney cancer for nearly eight years, but it was not the cancer that took him from us. It was the Lord, in His great mercy, who took him from us...in His book were written the days that were ordained for Chuck when as yet there was not one of them (Psalm 139:16). It was on that Thursday morning that Christ called Chuck to come home to be with Him where He is.
My mom came across this bit of wisdom from Charles Spurgeon that has completely transformed the way that I think about Chuck's death. Christ desires that His children come home to be with Him...what a glorious truth! So, while I will still wonder why He chose to take such a wonderful man who was too young, I will rest in the knowledge that I serve a sovereign Lord who chose my dear father-in-law to be with Him on the heavenly side of eternity. By faith I will let him go...
“Father I desire that they also, whom You have given me, may be with me where I am.”
O death! Why do you touch the tree beneath whose spreading branches weariness finds rest? Why do you snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom is all our delight? If you must use your axe, use it upon the trees that yield no fruit; then you may be thanked. But why will you chop down the best trees? Hold your axe, and spare the righteous. But no, it must not be; death strikes the best of our friends; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus' prevailing prayer-- "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am." It is that which bears them on eagle's wings to heaven. Every time a believer moves from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ's prayer. A good old divine remarks, "Many times Jesus and His people pull against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and say 'Father, I desire that Your saints be with me where I am'; Christ says, 'Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.'" In this way the disciple is at cross-purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places: The beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now, which of the two who plead shall win the day? If you had your choice, if the King should step from His throne and say, "Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another," which shall be answered? Oh, I am sure, though it were agony, you would jump to your feet and say, "Jesus, not my will, but Yours be done." You would give up your prayer for your loved one's life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction-- "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am." Lord, You shall have them. By faith we let them go.