DayBreaks for 1/23/14 – She Laughs Now Alfred

DayBreaks for 1/23/14 – She Laughs Now, Alfred           

Revelation 20:13-14 (NLT) – The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire…

Less than one year ago, I spent two months in Africa, learning and experiencing that land and the people who live and suffer there, so that perhaps we might be able to help them and others like them around the world live better lives spiritually and physically. I came to be very good friends with several of those I was with, but the closest is Alfred, from Liberia. Alfred’s last name is Collie, which in Liberian means “leopard.”

Today, Alfred is not feeling like a leopard, but is weeping over the sudden, unexpected death of his 7-year old granddaughter. He is crushed, weeping without ceasing, in deep anguish of heart and mind. Death has taken another victim. I cannot image the grief of a parent who has lost a child, nor that of a grandparent who loses a grandchild. It is too overwhelming to grasp, to deep to understand – and I can barely stand to contemplate it, let alone go through such gut-wrenching agony.

Alfred is not alone in his grief today. Many today are facing the death of a loved one. Estimates range from 150,000-300,000 people die each day around the world. How many tears per day is that? Yet it is Alfred on this day that has my heart and prayers. He is so far away (or is it I who am far away?) in this time of need and I wish with all my heart I could be there to weep with him.

Early in his career, American playwright, Eugene O’Neill, wrote the imaginative play Lazarus Laughed. It’s about Lazarus’s life after Jesus raised him from the dead. Near the beginning of the play, friends are gathering for a banquet in Lazarus’s honor. They are all eager to hear what Lazarus has to say about his experience. As they are being seated, one guest says, “The whole look of his face has changed. He is like a stranger from a far land. There is no longer any sorrow in his eyes. They must have forgotten sorrow in the grave.” Another guest, one who had helped roll the tombstone aside, recalls the scene after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead beautifully:

And then Lazarus knelt and kissed Jesus’ feet, and both of them smiled, and Jesus blessed him and called him “My Brother” and went away. And Lazarus, looking after him, began to laugh softly like a man in love with God. Such a laugh I never heard! It made my ears drunk! It was like wine! And though I was half-dead with fright, I found myself laughing, too.

Death. We don’t even like to say the word. It has a coldness to it, a finality. There is no life in it. I hate it. You hate it. God hates it. And God will destroy it – totally, utterly, and finally. On the day that happens I will praise Him yet anew. And I shall rejoice to see death cast into hell. Then I, Alfred, his granddaughter and all His children, will laugh.  Until then: Comfort, oh comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1 (MSG)

PRAYER: Father, only You can comfort us in the face of such devastation as death. I pray Your comfort today on my friend, Alfred. Please, Father, send Jesus back soon to crush this terrible enemy forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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