A Song of Joy
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord.
He is God of reversals. We are gathered, not like straw; but rather, as a shepherd gathers His sheep. Yes.
Monday morning, my body slips into remembering, twisting in the kitchen. I look around at the mess of making a week’s dinners-in-a-day, at all there is to accomplish. But I know now–pots’ burned bottoms, vegetables half-chopped and sink flooding over–it is time to sit. Today is the day chosen for this year’s remembering. I sicken because I wanted to contain it, from March 16th to the 20th. But I know better. He is still my son.
We as human beings want everything to return to normal, to believe that life can right itself after disaster strikes. We yearn for the entire formula to work itself out here, in this miniscule present, in this fleeting. So, we paste a smile over cancer; we band-aid hemorrhage; we ask a mother to forget her own child. The sooner we’ve moved past this, the better.
But, really, there is no moving on. There is a carry we can learn, a hands-open offering, a surrender. I carry my son; his life spurs mine on. He goes before me: “Be bold and strong, Mama! The Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
He reminds me every day that this place of SUVs and vacations and retirement plans is not my home. My home is where my family lives forever, where my Father gathers us unto Himself, where every tragedy will be redeemed and every shame will be righted. He heals at Home, He restores in His house.
That’s where I’m going. So as we sang over Caleb when he was delivered, as we walked his casket out of the church, we know we will be singing over him for all eternity . . . as our Father sings over each one of us now:
God bless you all, in all the hurts you carry, in all the lullabies you sing.