I screamed, that shrill gut level cry that can only be manufactured in moments of terror. Thankfully, he stopped. The car and its driver raced past unaware that my baby stood inches away. It was a terrifying moment. A moment that handcuffed and dragged me back in time, back to the fear and horror of death, back to trembling arms, bleeding heart and still baby.
I ran and grabbed Elijah into my arms and then felt the wave coming. I squeezed him tight and quickly handed him off to my sister and ran inside to lock myself behind closed doors to let my lava heart erupt. I kept reliving the moment- kept playing out alternate endings. I couldn’t shake the image. The thought kept surging through my mind- what would have happened if I hadn’t screamed? I quickly concluded- I saved his life. I screamed and I saved his life. That was when I heard His voice…the simultaneously gentle and convicting whisper that proclaimed, “No, I saved Him.” And in that instant, all the dark and hazy colors of the moment turned instantly bright and clear and panic vanished. God allowed Elijah another day. God has a plan. I can control nothing. Anna left this world before I wanted her too- but I could not have saved her either. Life and death are not up to me and there is so much freedom from fear and control by surrendering to the loving sovereignty of God.
For years, I struggled with this idea- God in control. I simply didn’t like it. I would certainly not have allowed my baby to die. I would have never allowed those horrid sentences into our life. And yet, the sovereign hand of God did allow them to be written and I hated Him for it. Just moments before Chris and I handed Anna to our nurse to be taken away from us forever, I painfully lamented to him “This isn’t fair!” He tenderly looked at me and said, “Kate the most unfair thing that ever happened was Jesus dying on the cross for you and me.” Chris offered me such glorious, healing truth in that moment- though it took years for me to begin to be healed by it. Chris and I were both “saved” and yet I had no idea what that really meant- Chris cherished our savior in a way I did not.
Three years later, this truth made a reappearance and in surrendering to it, all my panic over life and death turned to peace. Without the death of Jesus, there would be no good ending, no reunion, no victory for anyone. It was coming to not just believe but to cherish the sovereignty of God that pierced through the layers of my grief hardened heart, infiltrating every area of my life with light. We get so angry at God for not editing out the bad stuff, and yet, He wrote the darkest sentences ever scripted into His own story…sentences studded with the brutal death of His perfect, beloved son, all to rescue you and me. You and I can rest no matter how excruciating the sentences get, because God is sovereign.
I know how my story ends. Redemption is the last and eternal leg of my life’s journey. And all the pain, grief and darkness of this present age will disappear in the light of forever with Jesus, the beautiful, sovereign One. Yes, He allowed my baby to die- but He also allowed His own baby to die so that all my earthly pain could be washed away in His beautiful blood. This is a good story. It’s filled with promise, with hope, because no matter how tough the sentences get, sovereignty spells triumph for the child for God.
This proclamation from Jesus says it better than I could ever dare to write:
” I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, But take heart. I have overcome the world!” John 16:33
In the days that followed the near fatal accident, I pondered my life deeply. Am I living my life, my every moment the way I really want it to be lived? Or am I trailing behind my circumstances, panting, as if they in fact own this ransomed soul?
I have one life to live. Some days are good and some days are hard. My scary moment with Elijah this summer opened my eyes to the beauty and joy I often miss because I am too focused on life and making it feel right instead of focusing on the giver of life, and letting Him make me right.
I want to say yes to Jesus. I want to say yes to the hard and yes to being made right. I want to say yes to joy and no to a hurried, frenzied, self centered, demanding existence. I want to say yes to every moment of the day which bursts with the opportunity to extract more Jesus and more joy, simply by surrendering to His purposes for me. I want to say thank you to the sovereign one- the one who took the nails for me, the one who rose to set me free, the one who held me as I held my lifeless baby- the one who gave Elijah another day, the one who cannot wait to see me at eternity’s door and to hand redemption into this eager’s mama’s arms.
He is writing my story, weaving my sentences into the greater story of Him. He is sovereign. His story is good. I want to say yes to Jesus.