June 24, 2012.Living Hope Church in St. Michael-Albertville, MN. Sunday night service. This message follows the death and funeral earlier in the week of our congregation’s dear friend Jeremy Erickson. Many in our church prayed hard for Jeremy’s recovery. We asked for a miraculous healing, but Jeremy left us for heaven even so. The death of a loved one raises many questions…
Does God exist? If so, can he hear our prayers? Is He simply so HUGE that He doesn’t bother with our little lives? And who is to blame for this loss? Didn’t we pray hard enough, or correct enough? Was it sin in Jeremy’s life that caused him to suffer and die? Or was that God’s plan? And if he can do anything, but he didn’t choose to heal Jeremy, how can he be good? Even more to the point… is his heart good towards me?
So many questions. This message wades into the deeper water, where our theology is tested in a sea of grieving. In the deep water, God comes to us.
Click on the tab below to stream the audio…
Jeremy Erickson. Entered heaven on June 10, 2012. Thank you, God, for his life and friendship. Jer, I’m looking forward to seeing you again.
Little Autumn went home to be with Jesus on September 28, 2010. She was weighed 1 lb., 3 oz. when she was born, after only 25 weeks in gestation. Autumn lived for 3 days before she went home.
Autumn’s funeral was one week ago now. Today, John posted a raw and honest note to his friends on Facebook. With his permission, I’m reposting it below.
I wanted to share this here for two reasons:
First of all, so that you might lift up John and his wife Mindy in prayer. He has faith that God is a loving God and wants the best for him, but John is deeply hurting, and has major league questions. I would, too. Please remember these good friends in your prayers whenever they come to mind.
Secondly, this was a good reminder to all of us who want so desperately to say the right thing when someone we love is grieving. My advice: please stop talking. You do not know what it is like. You have not been through it before. Your experiences are your experiences. We do not have to SAY anything to love someone well. Beyond, “I love you – you can talk to me any time – what do you need?” we often try to hard to “fix” what cannot be fixed.
And with that, I’ll let John’s words speak to you. Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your prayers.
how do we do this?
I’ve heard about the term “new normal.” I’ve been told the phrase “God only gives you what you can handle.” Some people have said “at least you had a baby, you met her, held her, and can probably have more.” I’ve even been told indirectly, (meaning someone told me someone said this to them about our loss), that maybe we shouldn’t have children. I also have struggled with my faith.
How do we do this? How do I not go absolutely ballistic on people for their rude and inhuman behavior? How do I tell people that I have FAR exceeded my limit of what I can handle? How do I not break down into tears every time I think of Autumn’s sweet innocence, her perfect little hands, her long legs, her beautiful face while I’m describing her to people and look into their big puppy dog eyes?
How do I not freak out about how grave Mindy’s condition was during her time leading up to Autumn’s birth? People think that they understand how sick Mindy was; they even tell me about themselves or girlfriends or whomever that had what they think Mindy had, and act like all she had to do was gut it out. MY WIFE ALMOST DIED, YOU INSENSITIVE PRICKS!!!! OUR DAUGHTER DIDN’T SURVIVE BECAUSE MY WIFE HAD A VERY RARE FORM OF HELLP SYNDROME AND HAD TO BE DELIVERED SO EARLY!!!! Her lungs didn’t have time to develop and that was what ultimately lead to her demise.
I want to eat. I want to stuff my face full, my belly full, and run from my feelings. I want to get absolutely disgustingly, puke on myself drunk. I want to get more screwed up than I can imagine. I want to take a fistfull of oxy and drink myself into oblivion.
I want to hold our baby. I want to smell her clean skin and touch her hair. I want to snuggle with her, talk to her, hang out with her, change her diaper, tickle her little chin, make her laugh, feed her in the middle of the night, watch football and hockey and wrestling and Deadliest Catch with her. I want to play my saxophone for her. I want to go on rides in the middle of the woods on a beautiful fall day with her. I want to bundle her up in pretty pink pajamas with little footies and show her off and tell people about her while she sleeps in the car seat next to me. I want her to grow up, live a long, happy life, get married, go to college, have kids. I want to die an old man with beautiful memories of Autumn: her life, her family, her love.
I want my wife to stop hurting. I want her to never have to feel what she is feeling right now. I want her to sleep easy. I want her wounds to heal. I want her to smile and laugh and giggle and sigh and be happy. She is still sick, still recovering, still devastated by our loss.
I want to be the best husband I can be. I want to be the best father I can be. I want our life to return to the “old normal” it was a few weeks ago. I will accept our “new normal” as Autumn coming home and living with us Happily Ever After.
Not gonna happen.
God, I can’t do this. You’ve given me too much. I’m drowning.