I am sad but hopeful
I have tried to write this blog a hundred different ways but everything seems trite in the face of death and loss. This week we lost a core member of church family. Brendan Wakeling grew up in our church. His parents, Dave and Julianna have been core stakeholders in our church as long as I have been here. His brother Logan is part of our Jr. High group. They are family.
Brendan had hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) his whole life. Like my own father, who had it in his last few years, Brendan had a shunt in his brain to drain the fluid. After 18 years, the shunt failed and Brenden had a seizure in the surgical process. Though the damage to his brain was fatal, his other organs were strong and he was able to donate his heart, liver and kidneys to save the lives of others. Like Jesus, his death brought life to others.
Tuesday night over 60 people from our church family were there to honor his giving of these life altering gifts. It was beautiful and horrible and sad and lovely. All last weekend, close friends of the Wakeling family surrounded them in prayer and support as they navigated this ordeal in the hospital. I was out of town speaking at a camp and wishing I could be there. But I was so thankful for our amazing church body who loves because it is who they are and not because they feel obligated.
Life is hard. Terrible things happen. We are in it together.
You and I represent the presence of God to each other. We get to be his hands and feet and shoulders to cry on in the middle of the pain and sorrow this life dishes out. But this is one of the important reasons you need to invest in the life of the church. The church is there for you to the extent that you have invested in the lives of others there. As with most things in life, you get what you give. The Wakelings are able to draw from the deposits they have made in the lives of others.
I am talking about the restoration of all things on Sunday. Brendan’s life is one of those broken things that I look forward to seeing restored as God makes all things new. As we turn the corner toward Easter and think about the resurrection of Jesus, I am reminded that God raises people and he will raise our world. The full healing we are praying and working for may not come on this side of death. But Jesus passed through death and came out the other side. So will Brendan, and you and me and our broken world. I can’t wait!