Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gratitude for Two Lights

Early yesterday morning, our family was awakened with the news that my niece Karen and her husband Leaman's 2 month old son Kaylon had died. We all went to the hospital to comfort them and share in that indescribable loss.

This was the second difficult pregnancy that Karen has had. Kaylon is the second of two boys born prematurely. The first child, Leaman, Jr., is hale and hearty and they were looking forward to Kaylon, coming home to join him. Recent complications necessitated a surgery that he did not survive.

I watched these two young people suffering the most unnatural loss there is - the death of one's child. My wife and I remembered that it was two years to the day that we buried our oldest son, Jason.

We would do anything possible to spare Karen and Leaman this pain.

How do those of us who suffer such tragedies deal with them? How do we find strength to carry on?

Ironically, or providentially, I discovered a little known (at least to me) sermon, by Martin Luther King, entitled, 'God is Able'. It contains a passage explaining better than I ever could, how we come of us soldier on. If your fellowship is among those of us who have known loss, struggle and suffering (and who hasn't), I hope this helps you as much as it is helping me.

"In India Mrs King and I spent a lovely weekend in the State of Karala, the southern most point of that vast continent. While there we visited the beautiful beach on Cape Comorin, which is called "Land's End," because this is actually where the land of India comes to an end. Nothing stretches before you except the broad expanse of rolling waters. This beautiful spot is a point at which meet three great bodies of water, The Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. Seated on a huge rock that slightly protrudes into the ocean, we were enthralled by the vastness of the ocean and its terrifying immensities. As the waves unfolded in almost rhythmic succession, and crashed against the base of the rock in which we were seated, an oceanic music brought sweetness to the ear. To the west we saw the magnificent sun, a great cosmic ball of fire, as it appeared to sink into the very ocean itself. Just as it was almost lost from sight, Mrs King touched me and said, "Look, Martin, Isn't that beautiful!" I looked around and saw the moon, another ball of scintillating beauty. As the sun appeared to be sinking into the ocean, the moon appeared to be rising from the ocean. When the sun finally passed completely beyond sight, darkness engulfed the earth, but in the east the radiant light of the rising moon shone supreme."

"To my wife I said, "This is an analogy of what often happens in life." We have experiences when the light of day vanishes, leaving us in some dark and desolate midnight - moments when our highest hopes are turned into shambles of despair or when we are the victims of some tragic injustice and some terrible exploitation. During such moments our spirits are almost overcome by gloom and despair, and we feel that there is no light anywhere. But ever and again, we look toward the east and discover that there is another light which shines even in the darkness, and "the spear of frustration" is transformed "into a shaft of light.""

"This would be an unbearable world were God to have only a single light, but we may be consoled that God has two lights: a light to guide us in the brightness of the day when hopes are fulfilled and circumstances are favorable, and a light that guides us in the darkness of the midnight when we are thwarted and the slumbering giants of gloom and hopelessness rise in our souls. And so we know that God is able to give us the interior resources to face the darkness as well as the light."

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