Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's the leaving them there that's hard

Have Faith in God

It's my grandfather's favorite hymn, and the third verse is especially meaningful to me tonight.

"Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there."

I've been working on a post about worrying for over a week now. I read about it, researched it, defined it, but all the pieces never came together quite right. But was different. Let me explain.

My grandfather got a haircut today. I know that seems to have absolutely nothing to do with worry, but wait.

As far back as I can remember, Papaw has never had a full head of hair. Mamaw tells me that as a child, I used to climb up and draw hairs on his head with an ink pen. Why he let me, I don't know. I suppose that's just part of the wonderful mystery of grandparents.

I spent part of every school break with them in the mountains. One summer my Papaw, a carpenter, took me to work with him every morning. Sometimes I would hand him nails; sometimes I would find a corner and just sit and read for hours. By the time we left for lunch, Papaw's glasses were always covered in sawdust, his sparse hair plastered with wood shavings. It's hard for me to imagine him any other way.

But today, reality hit. Shortly after our visit with him in June, Papaw was diagnosed with cancer. There had been a sense that something just wasn't quite right for a while, and we had steeled ourselves for the possibility that the tests would not come back in the way that we hoped. The prognosis wasn't good, but the doctors have moved quickly, setting him up for chemotherapy in which he has had a miraculous lack of side effects.

Except for his hair. I called to check on him tonight, and my Mamaw answered the phone and chatted with me while she shaved his head. I could hear the buzz of the electric razor in the background while we talked of the kids and her garden, but as soon as I hung up the phone I felt numb. I just couldn't bear to think of Papaw without those darn shavings stuck in his hair.

After I tucked the kids in tonight, I came back upstairs to find those verses on worry. But a funny thing happened. I couldn't find the verses I had looked at earlier. I thought I had pasted them with my notes, but they weren't there. Knowing that I wanted to quote chapter and verse, I did another search for verses on worry.

And the first entry brought fresh tears to my eyes:

"And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." ~Luke 12:6-7

As hard as it is for me to imagine, my Papaw is even more precious to God as he is to me. When I see him sick and in pain, I am reminded that the One who created and sustains him sees it also. My mind keeps coming back to a simple sentence written by a professor friend of ours to me after hearing about Papaw: We must trust in the mercy of the Lord.

"Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there."


Christie said...

Wow, Lauren... I'm so sorry to hear about that. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers! It is TRULY amazing how much weight is lifted off our shoulders when we realize that God IS in control! Everything that happens is to glorify Him! I've clung to all of the verses you shared many times in my life! How often I need to be reminded, "Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him, And leave them there, oh, leave them there."
Thank you for sharing...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear. -- Just between you and me ((I HATE CANCER)).

Often times it's so hard to cling to verses or hymns as comfort in times of trouble or worry. I believe it's what God wants... and oh how He wants to "cuddle" and just love on ya for awhile.

In my thoughts....

MomoMany said...

I know you don't hear from me often but I keep up on your posts here. I am also sorry to hear about your grandpa and your family is in my prayers. This post really was a blessing to me though, its been a tough few months in my family...I needed the reminder to "leave them there", thankyou :)
Carole and gang here in Greensburg

LauraLee Shaw said...

Oh Lauren, I have been through 3 long, excruciating deaths in my family over the past 2 years. I know the depth of your pain. Yes, it's so hard.

Your incredible faith and hope in Jesus Christ shines through the pain in this post. May it minister to many.

ChefDruck said...

I am so sorry to hear about your grandpa. It is so hard to see the ones we love suffer.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful writing, Lauren. My grandpa used to let us put pieces of cold ice on his bare head. What love!

Yvonne said...

Awesome post, Lauren. A precious reminder that we can trust the Lord who loves us so very much. Thanks for sharing your heart.