My brother-in-law is about to leave this world. He's been battling pancreatic cancer for almost three-and-a-half years. The battle is almost over.
He's 53. And married, with a four year old daughter. His wife has had to watch the slow and now sudden decline of the man she loves. Of a husband who used to run circles around her, so full of energy. He feels 90. Now, he has to use a walker and for help. It is very sad. It is heartbreaking.
My wife just returned from three weeks spent with them, helping and serving where she could. She had to come back before she wanted to. She wanted to stay, knowing that these last few days would be the hardest on his wife and daughter. Knowing she could help and wanting to. Wanting to show the deep love she has for her brother, his wife, and their daughter. Wanting God to show them Jesus. I know she wants to be back there now, doing what she can, being Christ to them.
I have wanted to ask him some questions, but he has been very antagonistic towards Christianity. And for some good reasons. He's gotten very angry, derisive, even verbally abusive towards my wife - his sister - when they have spoken about this in the past. I long to have a quiet conversation with him. But he does not have the energy, the strength that it would take to talk for extended periods of time. And I don't want him to waste his energy in anger.
God, have mercy on him. Make yourself real. Draw him to You. Sweep the detritus and the anger and the hurt out of the way. Brush it from the path before him so he can run to the foot of the cross and embrace it. Invade his space and let him know you love him and long for him. In that masterful Way of yours, leave him without defense and be his defender.
You see, my brother-in-law doesn't know if there is a God, but he wants there to be one. I'm not sure why, but I think it is because he wants to see justice done. I think he wants to know that some Where, some When, Someone will confront his Dad. But if he doesn't really know if there is a God, why? If there is, won't He judge everyone fairly? Me? My wife? My father-in-law? My brother-in-law? Doesn't he understand that this must be so? God is even-handed, just. But God is also merciful. Compassionate. Providing a Way when, and where, we cannot.