Until the sun rises with healing on its wings

As I sort through my mother’s boxes, filled with letters, notes and cards, old announcements and playbills and church bulletins, I see a thread of grace running through the piles. As I shared right after her death, the watershed moment was my brother’s funeral, when Psalm 27 was read, specifically the last verses.

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14

For me, the life changer was a few months after Mac died, when I stayed with my mother’s mother in NJ. A woman of deep faith who prayed for me every day from the time I was born until she took her last breath, Grandmom took me to Ocean City Baptist Church every Sunday and weekday, morning and night.

There, in the midst of her faith and prayers, I responded to the mysterious call of God on my life.

Many months later, when I was baptized in Christ Church, Oswego, NY, though no physical signs or emotions marked that event, I see now that my life was never the same again. I received a means of grace, the physical overlapping with the heavenly.

winding road NC mountain © Jack H Thompson
winding road NC mountain © Jack H Thompson

Thus began a long, circuitous journey. Many times I eased toward the light, and other times I stumbled in the darkness, but with a sense that, no matter what, the sun would rise with healing on its wings.

Now, still in that alternative reality that comes from experiencing the slow death of a dear loved one, so much of what I usually spend time and energy on seems just a shadow. Dark images on the wall, created by hands in front of a light. Tiny, one-dimensional signposts pointing to reality.

Everyday actions and objects have taken on greater meaning, become symbols mediating a deeper reality.

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.

Col 1:15-18

At this writing, I am in the Smokey Mountains.

Maggie Valley, NC © Jack H Thompson
Maggie Valley, NC © Jack H Thompson

The great vistas speak strongly of a great Creator. Wildflowers, colored leaves, even lichens on tree bark tell of His creativity and imagination.

wildflower © Jack H Thompson
wildflower © Jack H Thompson
white wildflowers
white wildflowers
tree bark © Jack H Thompson
tree bark © Jack H Thompson

yellow wildflowers © Jack H Thompson
yellow wildflowers © Jack H Thompson

As the pain of a homeless man wrings my heart as we must wring His, feeling our pain, even when self-inflicted, a curly-headed girl dancing in front of the restaurant speaks of His delight in his children.
sunrise
sunrise

And each new day assures me that the sun rises with healing on its wings.

What love!

AT this writing I have nine grandchildren, and the mantle is beginning to sit comfortably on my shoulders. After my oldest granddaughter turned sixteen, I thought back to her first days of life, and how God began to instruct me through my interaction with the next generation.

Image

 I arrived as they were going home from the hospital. It was love at first touch.

After spending the first weeks with my oldest daughter, her husband, and Corrina, my precious first grandchild, it was time for me to leave. Tears blinded me as I nuzzled her fuzzy head, one last time.

Grammi cuddling Corrina

I placed her in my daughter’s arms and promised, “I’ll be back soon!”

With a final wave and an attempt at a calm face, I headed for the plane, my precious ones disappearing from view. I could still feel her warmth and softness.

I would not forget the imprint my first grandchild had made on my heart.

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At 30,000 feet, aching with loss, I opened my Bible and read Isaiah 49:15.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

With a sigh I laid my head back.

In that moment I glimpsed God’s love for me. He loves me the way I love Corrina. He hovers over me as I sleep, waiting to shower me with love and care as soon as I open my eyes and seek Him, as I had done with her. He aches when I cry in pain, and comes to my aid when I’m scared and calling for help. He yearns for me and seeks me when I wander.

Isaiah assured me that God loves me even more than I do my grandchild. Moreover, Jesus is as anxious to come back for me one day as I am to return to Corrina.

Under my breath, I quoted Psalm 139:13-14: “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Just as Corrina did nothing to earn her place in my heart, the value of my life was created in the heart of God, not in my usefulness or worth in this world.

We are all that valuable, all that loved, all that yearned for.

What promises! What love! What a God!