Today my heart is heavy. My first crush as a teenage boy is living her last days on earth. The once lively and energetic woman has been reduced to lying in a bed hooked up to an IV. The cancer has wrecked her body. She hangs onto life by a thread.
When something like this happens we often ask the question why. Why would God allow something so awful to happen to someone so beautiful? Why would God take a believer that was shining a light for Him so brightly? The verses in Isaiah 55:8-9 tell us why we don’t understand. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Through my own experiences with the tragic loss of my wife Kari in 2006, I have seen firsthand how God can take something tremendously painful and ugly and make it breathtakingly beautiful. My wife Kari loved to help people more than anything in the world. It brought her great joy to help someone in need. Little did she know that through her death, her ability to help people would increase dramatically. As much as she loved to help people, if she could have known what kind of impact she would have on people through her death, I have no doubt she would have been honored to offer her life for so many if she would have had the choice.
I am certain that my old friend with cancer and her husband will impact people mightily throughout the world. I am certain that they already have. They have shown incredible faith despite their circumstances and that incredible faith is on display for the whole world to see. You see, even though this couple may act like it, they are not your normal neighbors next door. They are the country music duo Joey and Rory.
In what can only be described as a God thing, in 2012 Joey and Rory recorded, ‘When I’m Gone,” a song that was written by Sandy Lawrence as she cared for her dying mother. In the video, Joey sings the song as if she is dying and Rory her husband, plays the part of the grieving spouse. Rory hated the idea of casting them in those roles because he didn’t want to think about something so heartbreaking but he felt it was the right thing to do. Today through his heartache and the terrible pain of watching his wife die, he considers the video a gift. I consider knowing Joey, even if for ever so briefly, a gift.
We cross paths with many hurting people every day but we don’t always know everyone’s stories. If you ask how someone is doing most likely they will say they are OK but many times they are not. Sometimes we like to keep our distance from those that are hurting because we don’t want to get messy. We don’t want to get drug down.
What if we knew a simple smile or a word of encouragement could change someone’s life? Would we go out of our way to help someone if we knew it would make a difference? What if we knew that the person driving slow in front of us had just come from the funeral of their child and they couldn’t see the road ahead of them because of the tears in their eyes? Would we still get angry that we were going to be home two minutes later than normal?
We are only given so many chances to help people. We never know when our last day will be. Live every day like it is your last. Give everything you have every day you are given. Give everything for God.