God said “No” to my prayers for CMadison’s healing and I am not happy about it. And silly, simplistic bromides referencing Job 42:10 out of context, the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before aren’t helpful. As anyone who has ever suffered the death of a loved one will tell you, that person cannot be replaced-you can’t even replace a puppy! And the equally ineffective, dare I say insensitive quip, “He doeth all things well” is also a fail in the consolation category. Even Jesus didn’t say that and His death was essential for the redemption of humanity! But I am shocked and quite frankly thrilled to realize that my faith in God has not wavered, simpleminded, spiritually immature, religious rhetoric notwithstanding. I was stunned when I realized CMadison was dead. But as I continued to massage his body with the lights dimmed and his favorite music playing on his iPad, our regular evening ritual, I was suffused with thanksgiving that he died like a king and his body was literally anointed with oil. My heart broke when Charles, our eldest, took his Dad’s pulse and called 911, it broke again when Damon and his wife Tanika arrived to a room full of emergency personnel, and broke yet again the next day when Evan, his brothers and I gathered together with CMadison one last time as a nuclear family. But as I sat there, I realized CMadison had been an embodiment of 2 Corinthians 3:2, a living epistle of love, an energy not destroyed just reconfigured into our sons. That realization strengthened my faith in the face of God’s “No” as I came to understand that my larger yet unconscious prayer had already been answered. CMadison was a shining exemplar as a person, a man, a friend, a husband and a father. The character of his sons continue as a re-configuration of his energy, a physical manifestation of our (his and my) prayers answered in that Ephesians 3:20 context, namely exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
God said “No” to my prayerful request for CMadison’s health and healing, while leaving all kinds of bums walking around inhaling oxygen (and no, I’m not referencing the poor or unemployed!) but my faith continues to strengthen with each passing day. At the Church of Christ of the Apostolic Faith we used to sing “When I look back over my life and I think things over, I can truly say that I’ve been blessed, I’ve got a testimony.” A big part of my testimony is of generations of black American intercessory prayer going up from slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement through post-racial mythology and beyond answered and evidenced in the character of our sons. My faith is sustained in the face of God’s most recent “No” when I see His ongoing “Yes” sustain us, individually and collectively as a family in the midst of such an indescribable loss. I don’t get it, I don’t understand it and I don’t like it. But over our 36 years, 8 months and 24 days of marriage I was the chief beneficiary of God’s “Yes” in CMadison and his movement through the love elements of 1 Corinthians 13 and now I’m left with the reminder For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I see I can love and trust God even in the space of incomprehension until I know even as also I am known -that’s how I know my faith is intact even in the face of God’s “No.”
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