Three Years: A song of Praise

Three years after death. An earlier sentiment is still applicable; the passage of time is both an instant and an eternity.

I miss him.

Of course, I miss him still.

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How vividly I remember Jon’s hands raised to the Lord, song tumbling forth passionately and sincerely. Overcome by the weight of the words and the worship radiating from him, I could merely listen to the voices around me, the text the silent prayer of my heart.

“Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone

And live so all might see

The strength to follow Your commands

Could never come from me

Oh Father, use my ransomed life

In any way You choose

And let my song forever be

My only boast is You”

(All I Have is Christ, Sovereign Grace Music)

We often sang it in worship, and Jon cherished this song. He saw himself in the lyrics in every way— the man chasing after sin, running heedlessly toward the grave, but miraculously rescued by the grace of Christ at the cross. His was a life radically transformed.

“Hallelujah! All I have is Christ! Hallelujah! Jesus is my life!”

He lived it. Not perfectly, it was the desire of his heart.

At his funeral I raised my hands, not holding back the tears. I cast my sobs onto Jesus, singing with strength completely outside myself. With clarity I imagined Jon singing too, but this time his hands were raised in the presence of Christ.

With more depth than ever before, still the text is the silent prayer of my heart.

“Oh Father, use my ransomed life in any way you choose.”

In this year of thirds, I noticed a radical shift. The sea was calm, the dreaded days peaceful, the marked moments much easier than the previous two. Deep loneliness didn’t greet me or cling like a parasite. Grief no longer seemed a tangled knot. It became a minor player, relinquishing its starring role.

So my story on the third anniversary of Jon’s death is highlighted by triumph. It’s been a year full of great joy, precise provision, and deeper relationships.

I say with the Psalmist,

“I will extol you my God and King and bless  your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.. On the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wondrous works I will meditate…”

On the glorious splendor of your majesty.”

It is because of God’s mercy and grace that I am on the other side of the valley, and I marvel at just how beautiful life feels.

Were there still difficulties in the third year? Were there still moments of sorrow? You bet. Difficult circumstances will always come, but the Gospel produces great joy amid them.

God’s sovereignty is a bright blue thread prominently stitched across his design. I couldn’t see it in the moment, but hindsight’s vantage point adds perspective.

The triumph is Christ’s. 

“And on your wondrous works I will meditate”

God has done beautiful things through Jon’s death. Sometimes I’m astonished by the way God works. I’m not the same woman I used to be; suffering produced higher joys and deeper peace.

Praise God for

“Light after darkness, gain after loss

Strength after weakness, crown after cross

Sweet after bitter, hope after fears

Home after wandering, praise after tears

Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain

Sight after mystery, peace after pain

Joy after sorrow, calm after blast

Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last

Near after distant, gleam after gloom

Love after loneliness, life after tomb

After the agony, rapture of bliss

Glory awaits beyond the abyss.”

(Light After Darkness, King’s Kaleidoscope)

And all of this points back to Jesus. He is light and gain. He is hope and praise. He is sun and peace.

Do I miss Jon?

Of course.

But God was good to me in the depths. He’s been good to me in the calm. And all I can do is praise him.

“Hallelujah! All I have is Christ! Hallelujah! Jesus is my life!”


What has gone before:

An oak of righteousness? Two Years After Death

Precious Thoughts on a Day Long Dreaded

And They Shall be Radiant

He is abundant. Reflecting on a year after death.

 

 

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