I sat across the table from a friend for an hour and a half. We hadn’t seen each other in over a month so there was a lot of catching up to do. She’s a good friend. Her story is like mine… sort of. In many ways, it’s much worse. In others, not so much. And that is why we are friends. Sometimes I think it’s like perfect strangers who survive a plane crash. I didn’t know you before my life blew all to pieces, but we’ll be connected forever.
They say that misery loves company. I suppose. But this friendship is not about misery, though we have misery moments. This friendship is about…well…friendship, but it’s also about hope. It’s about understanding. I get her. She gets me. Every now and then one of us will say something, draw a word picture to explain how we feel and the other will have an ah-ha moment. Yes! That’s exactly how I feel and I just haven’t been able to put words to it.
So anyway, we sat there and covered the past weeks of our lives. About 5 minutes before she had to be somewhere else, we were lamenting the reality of our teenagers going off to college and moving on. And she said, “I don’t want my daughter to get married,” and out-of-the-blue started to cry. This was not a comment from a young mother talking about her 3 year old – something nostalgically cute and sweet about an event that could happen 20 years from now. And, it was not something I laughed off as if to say, “silly girl, of course you’ll want her to marry when the time comes.” It wasn’t an exaggeration.
I knew exactly what she meant. She may as well have said, “I don’t want my daughter to suffer as I have suffered.” In fact, what she did say was, “I will kill him – I will kill any guy who hurts her.” And I knew she meant it. It didn’t matter that her daughter was not engaged or even dating seriously. There was no pressing situation. No real expectation that her daughter’s marriage would ever fail. But the mere fear and dread of a hurt so deep and painful being inflicted on your child is overwhelming. It would be enough to make a person chuck all the teaching on marriage and family that she had ever heard in favor of a life free of commitment and the pain that comes with it.
And this is the beauty of the gospel. Christ coming in as the perfect husband to pursue what is his. To bring us to himself. If it weren’t for the gospel, I would have no hope for my children or my friend’s kids. I don’t know how people cope with tragedy without knowing that there is a sovereign God who knows about all of it and will not stop coming after his children. I can rest. My friend can rest. And our children must learn to rest, no matter what. We rest on Christ. He cannot love us more than he already does. He will not choose to love us less.
No matter what, we rest.