As I stood with my dear friend, Jason, beside the casket of his wife a couple of weeks ago… my heart was filled with almost unbearable sorrow for him and his family. As a minister, I have had the privilege to walk with a lot of families through the difficult time of a loss of a loved one… but I cannot remember one that has come close to the grief of that moment. Not only is he a dear friend, but his wife, Evette, has been as well. For my wife she was about as close to a family member as you can get without actually sharing the same DNA. Evette was 32. She and Jason have been married just over 10 years. They have three beautiful children, two girls and a boy. She practically grew up in my brother-in-law’s home… alongside his girls, Jenny and Tara. Jason preaches for the church in
As we stood there beside the casket, near the pulpit where he regularly brings a word from the Lord… I desperately searched for a word… ANY word, but particularly a word from the Lord. I don’t think I ever came up with one. All I could do was wrap my arms around him and promise to pray.
I wish I understood such things. I wish I had something wise and spiritual to offer. I didn’t. And even as I have reflected on it these last few weeks, I’m not sure I’ve got anything better now. It still doesn’t make sense. Life can be so unfair. It can be so fleeting. And it just stinks sometimes!
My text for this Sunday is Genesis 4… some of the first happenings after the fall. The story actually makes more sense to me now than it ever has. After the appearance of sin on the scene in chapter 3, the story of Adam and Eve takes a backseat to the soap opera that their family becomes. One of their precious sons is cut down in the prime of his life, before he ever even gets a chance in this life… by his own brother. Cain, apparently jealous that God loved Abel more, lures him out into a field and viciously slaughters him. Imagine the grief of Adam and Eve… knowing that this is what the result of their “wanting to be like God” has brought upon the world. As a result of the brokenness of this world death is the new reality. Even Abel’s name says it all. It means literally “vapor” and is the same word Solomon uses in Ecclesiastes to talk about life being as a “vapor.”
But there is still hope in this story and if you look closely towards the end of chapter 4 you find it. Read it this week and see if you see the same thing I do… hope amidst a fallen and broken world.