Lindsey and I (this is her husband Kevin writing) returned home from the hospital on Monday night. Leaving the hospital and returning home without our sweet Sophie with us was incredibly hard. As Lindsey and I slowly climbed the stairs to our apartment (I’m so proud of Lindsey and how well she has been physically recovering), Lindsey looked to our door and said in tears, “There is supposed to be a sign on the door that says, ‘Welcome Home Sophie’.” But there wasn’t. Because Sophie wasn’t with us. We have cried and cried as we miss holding our little baby girl and miss making memories as a family as we have for so many months. There is so much to grieve. And we have also experienced such joy as we’ve looked at photos and videos of the precious 10 hours God gave us with our daughter and the 42 weeks before that. We’ve remembered so many details (and realized new ones) of how God orchestrated the joyous hours of Sophie’s birth and life with us face-to-face. As we grieve and celebrate together, I’m getting to see certain things–even things that used to seem so familiar–in a new light. Two days ago I spent some time with God, listening and talking with him. I started to write in my journal some of what I was processing, and these are some of the words I wrote as I listened to the song (see below) that was playing when Sophie was born…
Sophie’s life has been about a lot of things, but there has been one resounding voice that has been heard above everything else. It has drawn in so many people, both those who have realized it and those who have not. Her life has pointed people to Jesus. It is only because of Jesus that this is a story of hope, of victory, of things being restored that we have longed for, of good ultimately prevailing, and our hearts being able to rest with peace. It’s only because of Jesus that this is a story where we don’t have to make up some comforting, yet make-believe thoughts to calm our hearts in order to get by. Because of Jesus we can stand firmly in the full reality of what is true and real and actual right now, and our hearts leap with enormous joy and celebration. Without Jesus this would be a very different story, especially now.
But thousands of years ago Jesus stepped into this story. Thousands of years ago Jesus stepped into everything that was messed up and horrible and wrong about this world and our lives. He stepped into the story of humanity that seemed to have gone horribly wrong. And Jesus began to set things right again. He began to lay his hands upon people and heal sickness, diseases, and death. He began to give people the love and acceptance they longed to experience but never realized they could fully find it from God. He began to teach people how to give that same love to others in a new way, not from themselves, but from God. He began to forgive people as they realized they had rebelled against the one who was actually for them, God. And he pointed them back to lives that were focused on and surrendered to God.
And then he finished what he began. Jesus finished the great rescue plan that had been put in place by God ever since things began to go awry long ago. Jesus took the effects of sickness, brokenness, and death, he took the penalty of our rebellion, he took the consequences of our sin, he took the curse and Satan’s ability to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…he took them all upon himself on the cross. And then he died physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He was taken away from those who loved him on this earth, and for the first time ever he was taken away from the one who had loved him and been with him for eternity, our God and his Father. Because he took on everything that we should have carried ourselves, he experience the full separation that each of us should someday experience. But he took it all on so that we wouldn’t have to.
And then once he had fully taken on all the horrible realities and nature of our lives and this world so that it was finished, complete, and sealed, Jesus came back to life. He conquered death, illness, rebellion, sin, brokenness, separation, the curse, and Satan’s attempts to steal, kill, and destroy. And in that moment of Jesus’ resurrection, he secured that everything would be restored. That everything that isn’t as it was meant to be will be made untrue, and that once again we would be reunited with our loving Father, God, and he would once again have total authority and control over our lives and all things…to bring it all back to how it was meant to be.
It’s because of this—all that Jesus is and all that he did—that in the moment Sophie quietly passed out of our arms on Sunday, our prayers were finally answered. She was now healed and fully whole—illness no longer reigned. She was now fully alive—the sting of death was no longer a threat. She was now experiencing God’s full love, care, and protection—the limitations of love on this earth were no longer hindrances. Our sweet daughter Sophie is now in a place that we know with assurance that we will be with her again soon because our trust is in Jesus. And while we are still on this earth and thus grieving her not being with us and grieving the realities of this world that aren’t as God originally intended them to be, we know that just as Sophie’s story finished with her life being restored back to the perfect, wonderful, and glorious way it was meant to be, the same hero written into her story is written into ours. [Even if long ago you chose to have nothing to do with Jesus, in reading this now, he has stepped back into your story.] And if we place our trust in Jesus [click here to explore how], and allow him to be the central hero of our story, we too will someday experience all things being set back to what they should be, just as our sweet Sophie is experiencing right now.
I honestly don’t think I have ever loved Jesus like I do right this moment. He rescued my little daughter’s life…and I care about that even more than him rescuing my own life.