It’s been awhile since I wrote a post like this. And I could say and it would be absolutely true, that life has been extraordinarily busy this past month. So busy that I wasn’t able to go and see our friend Michael. But I could also say, and it would also be true, that I’ve also had a deep and growing heartache when it’s come to our friend and that has made it harder to visit or write. It’s hard sometimes, to know what to do with grief. It’s hard to come to terms with knowing that sometimes, life does not go the ways that you want it to go.
A plea for prayer for Michael last night caught my attention as well as an updated post this evening. When I saw it, it prompted me to pursue the best way I’ve known to deal with and process this journey, and that is, to write. Wanting pictures to go with my post, I scrolled all the way back to December 2013, to a group of pictures from that years Children’s Christmas Play.
And yes, I know it’s a bit odd to post Christmas Pictures in June, but bear with me.
That year, like many before it, we had a great group of Preschool through 6th graders to participate in our play. But for that year, like others, we also had a few extra roles that needed to be filled. Thankfully, Joy Remski, who was producing the play that year, called on the Jr. and Sr. Highers to come and help out, and with grace and willingness, they came.
Micheal was there to help out that year. Because Michael was usually always there to help out.
And I remember that year, thinking that everyone truly did a wonderful job of sharing the beautiful story of Jesus’ birth. Including this sweet little girl who was picked to be the gray donkey that year.
Michael lovingly embraced his role as “Shepherd.” He was part of the group that was absolutely terrified, when the angels came to announce Jesus’ birth. And of course, no one would fault them. Because it probably was a terrifying experience. Imagine, just going about your normal everyday boring life, doing what you’ve always done, watching sheep no less, when suddenly, a great company of heavenly host appears in the sky.
But I love, that right away, the Angel said, “Fear not. For behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be for all the people.” Fear not. It could be the theme of my life most days. Because there is always something to be afraid of or anxious about. But time, after time, after time, God reminds us that we never have to be afraid. And going back to the story of Jesus’ birth and the words of another angel, we find another amazing truth. In Matthew 1:23, an Angel appears to Joseph and tells him that Mary will have a baby and that they are to name him Immanuel, which means God with us.
God is with us. He was with us when Jesus came to earth as a baby, and He is with us even today. And when life is scary, we can know with certainty, that God is with us. He is with us in the good times and He is with us in the bad times. He is even with us through our pain and sorrow. We might not always be aware, but we can know that this is what is true. And looking back through those old Christmas pictures, that is the beautiful truth that came to mind.
As an update, Michael is currently in Stony Brook Hospital with aspiration pneumonia. He is understandably having a pretty rough time. And once again, he and his family could certainly use prayer. And as much as this news brings sadness and grief, tonight I am reminded that God is with us and that God is with Michael and his family. Please join me in praying for God to work on Michael’s behalf. I pray that Michael would have peace and that he would know that God is with him and with his family, through this terribly difficult time.