By: Jana Greene
“And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!” – Saint Paul, Ephesians 3:9-10
I am inspired by The Greats. Saint Paul was definitely a great man.
As was C.S. Lewis, the Oxford-educated Novelist who penned The Chronicles of Narnia, among other works. He himself had been a staunch atheist before his conversion to Christianity, explaining that in his youth, he had been “very angry with God for not existing”. I have read everything I can get my hands on by Mr. Lewis and have an appreciation for his amazing mind. Still, I would love to sit down and have a cup Irish tea with him, and pick his brain.
I’ve a feeling that his musings might be “over my head”.
There are so many things I don’t understand. What is God doing about the things that seem to make no sense? What about the good and lovely human beings who suffer with cancer or mental illness or addiction and whose lives are claimed by those things? The ones who fight as hard as they are able and trust in God’s strategy in spite of the predicted outcome?
Those people – they are The Greats as well.
Yesterday, the world lost such a great man. He was a dear friend to my husband and I – an amazing husband to his wife of forty-eight years, and an incredible father to his daughters. He was a gentle giant, a man who trusted that God was working behind the scenes. He suffered intermittently with cancer for twenty-two years, and although he doesn’t walk with us on earth anymore, the cancer did not win.
My friend – The Great – is in paradise now, whole in his brand-new glorified body. The cancer is dead.
I was blessed to be able to talk to This Great about his struggles. Frankly and plainly, he talked about dying sometimes, but more often he talked about living. He was a living example of the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ; about the life he was honored to live – however long that might be. He made plain the word of God with his faith. He would never want his passing to be considered tragic. He would want others to look at the bigger picture. How many lives did he impact with twenty-two years of unrelenting faith and love for other people?
Am I angry at God for existing, but not stopping the disease that claimed my friend’s earthly life?
Perhaps a little, if I’m honest. But God looks after The Greats, he looks after all of us. Even in issues that seem to be over our heads. The things that make no sense make no sense because we aren’t privy to the back-story, the Master strategy. That’s just simple faith. Simple, life-giving faith.
C.S. Lewis also said: “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we should leave behind!”
That, I can understand.
Today, Heaven rejoices that my friend – The Great – suffers no more. I like to think he might be sitting down to a cup of Irish tea with Mr. Lewis, considering things that remain over our earthly heads.
With the Father whose plan is perfect, there among the angels.