Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Turn Right"

There is a road I used to travel that stretches to the Northeast just past Monument hill. Turn right on county line road then take the first left.  Past the CDOT facility and into the countryside - turn left there.... I'm sure it has a name but I never bothered to learn it.  I discovered it on one of the many trips to the hospital to be with my son Jacob.  Taken it's full length and with a couple of turns, the road will take you through an area of Colorado seldom traveled: beautiful limestone mesas, gamble oak forests, prairie grasses riddled with splashes of wildflowers in the right season.

I've always been one to wander, to see what is around the next corner.   The first time I took the road I discovered that with a couple of turns I could get to Jacob by this alternative route.  After all, by then I had every milepost of I 25 memorized, the scenery was stale -and it took me to a place I hated to go - too quickly.  The road became a welcome escape.

It quickly became my preferred route. Rolling prairie, dissected by high mesas mostly ranch land, big wide open skies -Colorado blue - those of you that know that color love it like I do.  The drive was slower on the gravel road, providing me with time to think, to prepare myself to be with my son who was very, very sick.  I drove this road almost daily until the end.
Left Turn:  On the way to Denver Childrens

However beautiful, my awe of creation always gave way on the first half of the road to the crushed soul of a Father who daily watched his son battle Leukemia.  Every day I went through the same gauntlet of thoughts and emotions.  I always began with anger:  "WHY!? - why this suffering from a boy who has already endured so much!?  Jesus - he was abandoned three times already!  Burned on the back by some jerk's cigarette because Jacob inconvenienced him.  And now he finds a family who loves him and you let him get sick?!  - I don't get it".  Every time I traveled that road it began in what Blackaby calls "the crisis of belief"  - did I believe God is who he says he is?  Did I believe he is good?

But always as I drove further, Jesus met me and he reminded me that he is....more than good...more than sufficient incredibly adept and able to take Jacob and me through this fire, this valley.  He comforted me on that road, he met me there, he waited on me there, like a hitch hiker who got in my car and told me "tell me your sorrows" (read C.S. Lewis).  And I did. As he listend to me intently on each trip, he took in all of my yelling at him, all of my fear, all of my anger, all of my despair and he made it work backwards.  The last bit of the road always resulted in my being strengthened and even buoyed to face another night at the hospital.  I always wound up worshiping.

Each evening I would arrive at the hospital to watch Jacob's smile light up the room as I entered.  I watched how Jesus used him to change the lives of the doctors and nurses -to give them hope, encouragement and yes the King's blessing.  I won't fully understand the amount of work my son did in peoples lives through his battle with Leukemia.  Maybe I don't have to fully understand - I just have to know that it was big.  It was powerful.  It was a blow struck on the enemy  by a 15 year old Filipino boy that left a mark.  This understanding is enough for me.

Right Turn: Whatever is next
After Jacob's death, I drove the road a couple of times.  I'm always tempted to 'turn left' onto that road as I drive to Denver on business now.  A couple of weeks ago a meeting ended early.  I had time to go and drive the road again on my way home, you know,  just to remember.  So I set off and take the Greenland exit where I can 'turn left' to go and drive that road again. I exited off of the highway and slowed to a stop at the intersection...and I sat there contemplating that road and then I heard Jesus:

"Turn Right Marshall.  It's time for me to show you a different road."

Obviously, my big brother (Firstborn from the dead) thinks it's time for me to  go another way...  I will let you know what I find there. Know long as its him around the corner...I'm good.