by Dawn Aldrich
You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God…2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV
Bent over two bowls of soup, we share lunch on the hospital tray. He doesn’t say much, for what’s there to say when you traverse between the bed and a wheelchair day after day? We’d all hoped for a better outcome – one that found restoration either this side of heaven or the other. Instead, I share soup across the table from the shadow of a man I call “Dad.”
He sips and labors over every bite like he’s plowing through a banquet-sized meal and I sense his frustration – how little pleasures like eating aren’t pleasures anymore, but rather, struggles that steal his breath and I know what he’s thinking – “Why go on living?”
My spirit cries within me, “Take him home, Jesus. Take him home!” But Jesus answers, “I’m not finished writing his story just yet. Keep reading.”
I read between the lines through the silence – flashback to a time when I would have wished him gone – not to relieve his pain, but my own – to suffer the same pain his abandonment caused me – wished he’d simply disappear. But he came back.
Now, I stand at the bathroom sink scrubbing his dirty dentures and bend over the laundry basket folding his shirts wondering from where in his story this love comes? What makes me want to do these things for him? It’s no love I conjured up on my own for this dying man; nothing I ever wrote down or plotted.
This is all part of God’s story written between us. The story where forgiveness dissolves diseases like anger and resentment and where Love rewrites the ending, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.
And, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom to love as He loves; to see others as He sees them; to restore all the time and circumstances once stolen. This Spirit breathes warmth and light and new life into our cold, cold hearts, our deepest, darkest thoughts and our shattered families and redeems all things through the love of Christ.
While it was difficult watching Dad slowly whittle away, God’s love rewrote the ending of the story between my dad and I. It was the perfect ending to this final chapter of God’s story written between us; father and daughter. I will forever cherish our final moments together.
Help us to always look for your story you’re writing in the midst of all the suffering. Fill us with your Spirit that helps us see others through your eyes and love as you love. Grant us the patience and understanding during these most difficult times and where forgiveness needs granting, humble us to offer it as it has been freely given to us through your Son, Jesus. Amen