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Things That Abide, by Phil Ware

    When ministering to people in crisis, you are invited into some of the most private, agonizing, and holy moments a family ever experiences. Last Tuesday was such a time. A precious family was in the Intensive Care Unit room of their youngest child. She would not recover from a horrible accident the night before. As the dad slowly rocked his dying daughter, caressing her and stroking her hair, the other two children met with a children’s specialist who tried to explain to the 5 and 2 year old siblings why their 1 year old sister would not be coming home. Then they came in to say goodbye to their little sister.

Christianity is no theory in a children’s ICU room.
    The next 50 minutes were some of the most agonizing, precious, and tender moments I have ever witnessed. This mom and dad, with hearts breaking, tenderly and gently explained to their children how much they loved them and how sorry they were that their little one was going to die. The mom crawled down on the floor and cradled her 5 year old daughter in arms as this older sister cried her heart out. The dad talked in 2 year old terms to his son and patiently let him touch his baby sister with a stethoscope. Then he helped his young son place the stethoscope in his little sisters ears so she could "hear" his heartbeat.

    After the initial anguish, mom and dad lovingly explained how sad they were, but also how they knew that Jesus loves little children, and that if they have to die, then he makes sure they are okay and lovingly welcomes them into his arms.

    Anguish overcome by faith, hope, and love.

    Christianity is no theory in a children’s ICU room. It is either real or helpless. In this case, it was real. When Paul said, “And these three abide: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love,” I’m sure he didn’t have in mind a young couple living thousands of years later. But his words reminded me once again, that no matter how dedicated or committed or skilled we may be, ultimately only Jesus can truly save.

    So as we pile our lives full of so many things, let's make sure they revolve around the grace that truly lasts—faith, hope, and love. Faith that Jesus died and rose from the grave. Hope that he will come again and reunite all of us who belong to him. Love entwined with him that will last forever.

    One of the singers at the funeral for this precious little girl was asked, “Wasn’t it depressing singing at that kind of funeral?” His answer, “Well, it was very heartbreaking to see a family have to suffer such a loss. But I came away comforted, and thankful, and hopeful, because I was reminded once again that all partings for those who believe are merely temporary.”

    These things abide: faith, hope, and love.


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