It is with great sadness and heaviness of heart that I write this post. On Sunday, July 13, my good friend and brother in Christ, Jason, went to be with the Lord.
It was unexpected. It is unreal. It's unfair. It hurts.
For those of you who didn't get the chance to meet Jason, let me tell you a little about him.
Jason was an amazing man of God who loved God with all of his heart, and his wife, Denni, just as much. I first met Denni and Jason in Phoenix, AZ when they came to my church. We instantly became friends, as we had many of the same interests: worship, baseball, games, comedy and kitties. Denni and Jason were my family when I was a single young worship leader trying to figure out which way was up. They were more than just casual friends, they were a lifeline. We all sang together, played together, laughed together, cried together. Even after I moved away, we remained friends, always hanging out when I came to visit (Props to our favorite Pizza Joint).
Then I got married, and moved even further away. Contact dropped off a bit (much to my regret and sadness), and then I got an email....
Saturday, I heard from Denni that Jason was in the hospital, and after a long 28 hours he was still in critical condition, but stable for now. I immediately informed my praying people and I hit my knees, crying out to God for a miracle for my friend.
On Monday morning I got the call that Jason went home to be with Jesus, and my world was shaken. All I could think was "He's so young", "This can't be happening", "How in the world is Denni surviving all this?" and "I wish I could be there [Phoenix]". I just could not believe that he was really gone.
After a very, very, very long day at the office, I went to the gym. As I was working out, my heart would go back to Phoenix, and it would flutter a bit as tears welled up in my eyes. But the strangest thing kept happening. Every time I would feel sad, I kept hearing "There is joy", and peace would just wash over me. Then, as I was walking out of the gym, I heard the phrase "Singing With Jesus", and it struck me that my friend, Jason, had been promoted. He is no longer singing for Jesus, because he's singing with Jesus, and what a cool place to be. (I can't lie, a little part of me got jealous when I realized that he was with my God in heaven!) Now, while that is one of the best parts of being a believer, it doesn't take away the sadness we feel on earth. Even Jesus wept when one of his best friends died (see John 11:35). So, when I got home, the floodgates opened and I wept.
I wept for the loss of my friend and the sadness I feel inside. I wept for my friend and sister, Denni, who's world has just collapsed. I wept for the fact that it could've been me or my husband. I wept because I couldn't do anything else.
This is really my first experience with grief, a deep grief. I've lost a couple of grandparents, and while that made me sad, I was never close to them. But Jason, wow....he is my age, in the prime of his life, with so much ahead of him, my friend, my brother. And there are no answers. The question, "why" is rarely answered, yet in the midst of all these storms, we are called to lean on God's goodness.
nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer's feet,
and He will make me walk on my high hills.
And while I still feel sad, I am comforted in that I know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is good, and my friend is singing with Jesus. I'll miss you, Jason. And, Denni, if you happen to read this, I love you so much, my sister, and I'm praying and crying with you. If you need anything at all, please call me......