I woke this morning to an email that dear friends from our former ward lost their son last night. He was in his twenties, I believe. Fortunately, his dad made it to be there when he died; the son had called saying he wasn't feeling well. Although he had had health problems, his death was still a surprise. Our hearts ache with this family, who has had major health trials with more than one of their children, including heart transplants and life-threatening cancers.
Not a couple of hours later, I got a phone call informing me that a member of our family -- someone my age -- was just diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. (I still can't stop thinking of that disease as one tied to old age.) He has five children, including one who was born just months ago. Lots of unknowns sit there and will continue to exist as they wait to see how this all unfolds.
At times like these, I have to stop and reflect on the plan of salvation. I can't imagine facing trials like these, even vicariously, without the knowledge of the gospel. I have a hard time believing that life would seem so senseless and random if I didn't know that:
- God is real and loves us.
- God knows what is happening in our lives.
- Trials don't mean He doesn't love us.
- Trials can help us grow, and can help others grow.
- Our lives are interconnected. We never know how others' lives can be touched and changed by trials in our lives. (I think we will be astounded at how interconnected everything really is, both in the present and throughout generations...after all, past, present, and future are all Now to God.)
- As much as we should try to do our part with things like health, financial smarts and planning, preparedness, etc., in the end, we are not in control. Our lives are not ours. They are in God's hands. ALL of our lives are in God's hands.
- Opposition is necessary, as is death.
- There is life after death. We will all be resurrected because of the Savior, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.
- Family relationships can continue after death through the ordinances of the gospel.
- The measure of happiness is not all dependent on what happens in the short span of mortality.
- Life and relationships are precious.
- If we are prepared (especially spiritually, but in other ways as well) we don't need to fear. (And if we feel fear, we need to summon faith, for they cannot coexist.)
I have a saying vinyl lettered on the inside of my pantry door. It says: "Trust and Let Go." I can only do my best and then I need to let go and let God.
The good news of the gospel is my anchor that helps me in times like this. It helps me as I reflect on and face my own health challenges and the unknown that is still associated with them. Times like this cause me to reflect on What Really Matters, and on living my life so that if God were to call me (or any of my loved ones) home, that I would be ready for whatever happens.
As a friend of mine says, "Life is hard, but with the Lord, we can do hard things."
The gospel, the good news, is true. I am grateful for that knowledge. I mourn today with those that mourn. I weep for their pain, and for mine. But I rejoice in their faith and hold onto my own. God will not forsake us. He loves us. And because of His Son, all things can come together for our good if we love and trust God.