Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Phillip

My cousin Phillip was 20 or 21, I think. He was deeply involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He was getting a degree in civil engineering, and this summer he intended to take a sort of "civil engineering missions trip" to a developing nation. He sent us all an endearing and earnest and confident and hopeful letter about it, requesting prayer and financial support. Then he rode his motorcycle from the East Coast to the Rockies to meet up with the group he'd be working with. After a week of orientation, he and his bike got hit by an SUV. He died instantly.

It's not like he and I were extremely close, really, but we had been getting closer. His family and my grandmothers are currently geographically nearer to me than any of my other family members, so I tend to celebrate holidays with them. One Christmas he taught me a few basic chain-mail weaves. It was fun. He was a good teacher, and very patient. He let me keep the chain I made.

It's not like I'm in doubt about his current location (if "location" is the appropriate word, about which I am more in doubt). There's this part of me that's a little tentatively jealous . . . how great would it be just to be with Jesus right now, without all this "glass darkly" stuff?

I'm not sad for him (although his trip would probably have been fun), but I'm sad for the rest of us, particularly his immediate family. They have already gone through years of baffling, heart-wrenching, completely exhausting struggles. Why this, too? I wouldn't blame my uncle if he started introducing himself as "Job" from now on. I wouldn't blame him if he's feeling some rage.

People say, "Poor Job--not only did he have to go through all that suffering, but he didn't even know why. He didn't even know that God was having a bet with Satan." Huh? That's supposed to make everything okay?

I don't really think he would have felt better if he had known that. Even if you assert and, in some form or other, believe as I think my uncle does, that God has a purpose for everything that happens and that in the end what matters is that He is glorified, there are still all these feelings that get involved. How could they not? And aren't they supposed to? Didn't God give us feelings--because He has them Himself? So it's hard not to feel like a pawn, and unjustly treated, even if you trust that somehow, in the end, God's going to do something good with the thing (or things) that just crushed your soul into the ground.

10 comments:

Scott said...

sorry to hear of Philip's loss. May his loss spur you and his family to grow deeper into love with Jesus. Let this seed take root and grow tall!!!!!!

David A. Zimmerman said...

Sorry for your family's loss, Jenn. I can't imagine.

Stacey said...

I am so sorry you have to deal with the crushing emotions...my prayers are with you.

GreekGeek said...

my prayers are with your family. As you said, we mourn not for the one who has gone ahead of us, but for the loss to those who remain behind. May God be present with you all.

Craver Vii said...

Oh, Jenn. What a strange mix of emotions we end up handling… all at the same time. I feel badly for the pain of your family’s loss, but at the same time, I echo your touch of jealousy over Phillip’s present companions and real estate situation. I only hope that in your (plural) grieving process, the Good Shepherd draws all your hearts nearer to Himself. Shalom, friend.

Heather said...

sorry about this, friend. beautiful reminder, though, of our future hope.
by the way, on my google reader, two posts about your grandfather's death showed. i don't see them here, but i want to tell you that he sounds like a great man with a greater legacy.

Christianne said...

Jenn, I'll echo everyone else's sentiments in saying I, too, am sorry for this loss to you and your family. I can imagine how shocking it must feel for this to have happened to someone so young. Even to this day, I still cannot wrap my mind around the truth that a college friend of mine died in our junior year. These accidents happen so fast, and then all we have to hold onto are the shards of memories we shared with them or have of them.

Thanks for sharing your struggles through this grief. It ministered to me, too.

Jenn said...

Thanks to all of you (and many more who communicated with me through other means) for your prayers and condolences. This is a weird, rough time, but sometimes it's lovely to be wrapped up in the great cloud of witnesses . . .

Annelise said...

I think you're right. Knowing God's purpose in Phill's death wouldn't really help in accepting it. It's really hard to know why God would take someone who was just starting out serving Him as an adult. It's also hard to see Uncle Ted having to endure yet another difficult test. Good blog, Jenn.

Annelise said...

Another thought....since God has feelings, can you imagine how He feels when His children have to go through some of these earthly sorrows?

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