From the Pulpit: “I will not leave you orphaned”
It’s interesting how God’s timing works out. A friend of mine says that coincidences are when God wants to remain anonymous. I experienced that this week.
The scripture for Sunday was from John 14:15-21. First, Jesus talks about keeping his commandments. Then he says he is going to send an Advocate to be with us.
But the next part is what really hit me. “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” I had been working on the sermon and the service all week.
Thursday I got a panicked call from my sister. My mom wasn’t feeling well and she was going to take her to the emergency room but was so afraid because they wouldn’t let her stay with her due to COVID-19.
The next time she called, just an hour later, she was crying and told me the EMTs were taking mom out on a stretcher because she could walk to the car. She was talking to them and before she was on board the ambulance she stopped breathing.
They performed CPR for 20 minutes before pronouncing her dead. I felt so helpless being on the end of a phone the whole time and unable to do anything. All I wanted to do is hug my sister and make things better and I couldn’t.
I was on the phone for hours. First with EMTs. Then with Sheriff’s Deputies. Then with Sheriff’s Chaplains. And finally with the Coroner. All asking nearly the same questions. Each just doing their job.
It was a very late night. When I was getting ready to lay down, but not sure I could sleep, I remember thinking, “Now I’m an orphan.” And I heard Jesus quite clearly whisper, “I will not leave you orphaned.”
That verse suddenly had so much more meaning to me. I felt the Holy Spirit wrap me up in a sense of peace and calm and I slept. Preaching this passage was difficult on Sunday. I didn’t tell people about my mom’s death beforehand because I knew I wouldn’t have made it through.
Now, as my sister and I make funeral decisions in the midst of this pandemic, I hear the echo of Jesus words, and know I am not left orphaned. That fills me with hope.