It was a story followed by many. A family of six; two parents, four boys. The first three born healthy, wrestling and chasing and cuffing each other in that way that boys have (the way that spells love). And then came one more.
Born last, though not least in his family line, he arrived, bringing joy. And with him came every hope and dream for a shiny-bright future that is ever birthed, all unbidden, when a child’s delivered.
His mother, she cradled his blanketed form, pressing kisses to brow, head and hands. She breathed in his scent, that faint wisp of Heaven’s breeze that rests, mantle like, on babes just come down. Surely, then, with that small scrap of eternity nestled sweet to her chest, she gave thanks. For this is what mothers do whose hearts have swelled; have enlarged, making room for one more.
His father and brothers, they, too, gave their thanks and welcomed him in. For this is what families do who love life and each other; they make room for one more.
It is often, one finds, on the most normal of days that life takes a turn. With a twist of the wheel, the ring of the phone, the world as we know it is altered forever. For the family in this story, it was two words spoken over the child that changed their course.
What a cursed disease is cystic fibrosis. It attacks the lungs and keeps a boy from doing what he loves the most—to run like the wind and keep up with his friends. A boy’s about action; about motion and speed. A boy wants to conquer, to climb trees and jump. To beat a drum, blow a horn, throw a ball, sled a hill. All this and more a fellow will do. If, of course, he is healthy.
There are no words to tell a mother’s pain when she sees a child decline. For a father standing quiet in a hospital room, no words can convey his helplessness, his suffering. And for a family that gathers ‘round to sing their loved one home, there are tears, there are groans, but there are no words.
It was at the end of his life that his mother found them, the two words that made all the difference. His laptop password, the key that let her in, was “inChrist.”
In Christ. And wasn’t that the key to life, both here and now and then hereafter? Oh, it was, and Benji knew it. He’d invited Him in. He’d said the “yes,” and he’d lived—and died—in Christ.
For all of us who, too, have said the “yes,” we know that Heaven is ours. We believe that His Word is true and that He’s gone to prepare a place. We are in Christ, and our future is secure.
But what about our “now?” What about the “here?” For those who remain, Heaven hasn’t come yet, and there’s a lot of living left to do. Right here, and right now.
It’s a fallen world, and we know it. Down here, sin, decay and death run rampant. And pain? That’s a given. Many days, we long for eternity. We yearn to be with Jesus in person, face to face. But we’re still here.
What, then, is the secret to not only surviving life down here, but thriving? The answer lies (yes, this I know) in these two words: in Christ.
It’s a great and wonderful mystery, how the spirit of the living Lord abides in frail skin. That the very One who raised Christ from the dead actually lives in earthen vessels. That He chooses men and women, redeemed, to be His temples. One can scarcely take it in.
As incomprehensible as it seems, it’s a truth that we must know. To live and then to die without grasping this is like a child starving to death beneath his father’s banquet table. Everything he needed was there all along.
When we are in Christ, then Christ is in us. There is not one thing we can face for which He does not have the supply. Need wisdom? He gives without scolding, and He’s happy to do it.
Discouraged? Come, find courage. Whatever is pressing, He knows what to do, and He’s strong enough to do it.
Are you lonely? Oh, my friend. He never leaves, never forsakes and sticks closer than any brother.
Are you fearful? Take heart for He’s overcome the world. There’s nothing that makes Him afraid, and there’s no threat that He cannot handle.
Are you weary? “Wait on Me, and I’ll renew your strength. You will run and not be weary. You will walk and not faint.” Wait on Him, and rest.
In Christ. All the love we long for, all the hope and joy we need. Strength for today with enough for tomorrow. Christ in us and us in Christ, the password that never fails.
With ongoing prayers for the Eash family and thanksgiving that Heaven is real, His word is true and one day there’ll be a reunion. There, where there’s always room for one more.