To all my family who are crying: This is how I work my way through death, is writing about my feelings and my thoughts. Please bear with me.
In times like this, I am reminded of the 23rd Psalm where we read that when we walk through the shadow of one’s death, there is no evil to fear. As a shepherd, we know that the author of this song is young David who was obviously tending his family’s sheep. Young David spoke of two items that bring comfort – they are the rod and staff. I tend to think of my rod as the whole written word that I can count on. The Bible brings me great comfort because there are so many promises that we claim and hold dear. Today I am thinking of the promise of the resurrection where I will again see my sweet niece Rebecca –Ruth, who passed through the shadow of death this morning. Her days on earth are now complete and she is at rest.
I tend to think of the staff as the Holy Spirit who guides me along when I struggle with everyday life. I realize that the rod [shebet in Hebrew] was something that David used to keep count of his sheep. This is especially precious to me as a reminder that no matter where we are in life, our heavenly father knows exactly where His sheep are at all times and what we are going through. He knows if we are hungry, thirsty, joyful or sad. The staff [mish-e-nah] of the shepherd is used to motivate and move the sheep but the staff has the idea of something to lean on, trust and support; both for the shepherd and us too, since it brings comfort. Today my everyday life has become a day to say ‘farewell’ … at least for now.
Today I take great comfort in knowing that while I as a sheep am crying baa, baa, and baa, at the loss of my niece… The Great Shepherd hears my cries and I am not alone. My sister Ruth has lost her youngest child, her only daughter. My two nephews Bobby and Scott have lost their beloved sister and their children have lost their Aunt. What terrible grief they are suffering today and will continue to suffer throughout the coming days, weeks and months that will turn into years.
The photo I am sharing is one that I have held on to for years because I always thought this photo captured her perfectly, so sweet and innocent. This is how I remember her now and how I will always will remember her…. sweet and innocent just like a lamb. Someone who always needed to be taken care of, someone who only had few words in her vocabulary to utilize to let you know she had a need. Rebecca-Ruth’s needs were special. Her needs were great compared to the needs of others and her needs were nurtured. Her need was to never be left alone or unattended by everyone who loved her and cared about her. Again, like the lamb, she needed a shepherd who would always watch out for her and protect her from the revenges of life.
Our Great Shepherd has always taken such good care of Rebecca-Ruth and seen to it that she always had someone there to take care of her. Our Father will now begin the process of tending to the rest of Rebecca-Ruth’s family who are left behind to grieve in the field.
I personally take comfort that Rebecca-Ruth shall want no more because now she will rest until that Great Day when the dead in Christ shall rise at the coming of the LORD. But for the rest of us, I pray and will continue to pray that His peace be upon all who are grieving. May you all feel constantly lifted up in prayer… love with wings to carry my prayers to our Great Shepherd.