Rhonda Schrock of "The Natives Are Getting Restless" and a contributor to "An Army of Ermas" normally writes downright hysterical columns about the life and times of her restless tribe. Today she shares a poignant reminder of His faithfulness for those of us who have suffered loss.

Over the holidays, I found my thoughts frequently turning throughout the day to friends who were facing a difficult Christmas. So many people lost this year...

First, in our hometown here in Northern Indiana, a local son was killed while on active duty in Afghanistan. His mother works at the middle school right up the road from our house, and he grew up in a church here in the middle of town. I will never forget seeing the caravan, including the hearse, come down Main Street on a bright Sunday in June, only days before Independence Day. His young wife and parents were devastated.

In October, our beloved school nurse, Diane Brown, passed away suddenly from the chemotherapy she was on for her breast cancer. She was such a bright-spirited, active, positive person. She left a legacy of hospitality and love for people from all walks of life.

Four days later, our close neighbor, Lisa Lengacher, a 39-year-old mother of 2, passed away in her sleep. She and I used to coffee together in days gone by, and her girls and our boys played in our back yards. There is still no explanation for her death.

How odd that both Diane and Lisa lived within one-third of a mile from our house.

Earlier in the fall, my parents lost one of their best friends, Joe Miller, in Hutchinson, Kansas. Joe was my very first boss and probably one of the best. He was a brilliant, largely self-taught businessman who left behind his wife and three sons and their families.

Other friends from days of yore lost their mother unexpectedly. This family of 9 children are now orphans, way too early, actually. The oldest son is only a bit older than Grant and I.

And last year, friends of ours lost their two oldest teenagers in a horrific crash, so this year they faced the second Christmas with two empty places.

So much loss.

In the last - oh, year or two? - I have found that my heart is beating more and more to the rhythm of eternity. Perhaps it's aging. Maybe it's growing and maturing. I'm not sure, but in the midst of such sorrow and devastation and pain and terrible suffering, I cannot help but think more and more of Heaven. And I remember that this is only temporary.

If this is all we were left with, this life with its deepest affliction, we would be of all men most miserable. But Heaven awaits. And this is how we persevere. This is not the end of the story. It's really only the preface, the introduction. There is so much real living that's waiting for us. We're in training. Oh, it's hard. How it hurts! But it will not last.

When I think of my life from this angle, things make a bit more sense. I want to hang in there, to persevere. I remember that we are made for something more. But while I'm here, there's a work to be done. There is a calling to fulfill. Oh, let me not be found shrinking back from fear or unbelief or apathy! So many around need joy, need hope, need encouragement. Lord, strengthen my hands and establish my feet on a firm path that I may be found faithful when it's my turn to fly away.

So thankful that He understands groanings that cannot be uttered,




quietspirit said...

Susan and Rhonda:
Thank you for sharing this touching message with us. The issue of loss is on everyone's mind. When we hear of a death we naturally find ourselves facing our own mortality.

Rhonda Schrock said...

Good evening, quietspirit. Holidays seem to accentuate it, don't they? Such special times, but with empty places...


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

I understand how you feel closer to eternity. After walking my husband through the valley of the shadow of death and watching him enter heaven, I think part of me went with him.