Today, I’d like to tell you about Cory.
High school kids looked up to him as their talented teacher, football coach, wrestling coach, and mentor. He was a loyal friend, persistent jokester, and quite possibly the greatest fan the Cubs have ever seen. Above all, he was a devoted husband and an outstanding dad. He treasured his family, and they adored him.
Cory died unexpectedly last week. He was 37 years old.
Why am I telling you this? Not for drama’s sake, please believe me. I personally avoid reading about other people’s tragedies because, quite honestly, they feed my fears. That’s not what I intend to do here.
I want you to know Cory because, if you read my recent devotion on facing trials, then you’ve met his wife—my college roommate, Alisa. Yes, she’s the Super Mom cancer survivor and infamous breakfast forgetter. I love her dearly. And I can hardly believe this is the next chapter in her story.
My heart is heavy. I’ve been wrestling with God. This loss makes no sense. What do we do when God makes no sense?
I’ll tell you what I won’t do, at least not here in this blog space. I won’t ask why God gives so much pain to one person at one time, as if cancer wasn’t enough. I’m not going to talk about how God is good when life is not, or even about heaven and how to get there. Instead, for now, I want to settle on this:
What?!? That’s crazy, Becky. How can you be grateful at a time like this?
Well, for starters, because God tells me I should. And I’m still choosing to believe him. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
Give thanks in all circumstances.
What does that look like? It’s not a Pollyanna, smile-when-it-hurts outlook. Sometimes life is gut-wrenching, and I don’t think God expects us to deny that.
Rather, I’m talking about a shift in default, from complaining to appreciating. From dwelling on the negative to catching a glimpse of the positive. From taking loved ones for granted, to acknowledging they could be gone tomorrow—and living today like it matters.
Thank you, Lord, for my husband’s snoring. It means he’s sleeping beside me tonight.
Thank you for my girls bickering over bath toys. Their voices are my favorite sound, and today it’s filling my ears.
Thank you for peals of laughter cutting through the tears in a crowded country church, where comical eulogy stories paid tribute to a special man’s unique brand of humor. This tells me that my friend knew the joy of a happy marriage.
Thank you, Lord, that you know things I do not. When I’ve run dry of answers, I can cling to you.
It’s been nearly 20 years since the folks in charge of university residence life matched two homesick small town girls on the third floor of Walker Hall. A lifetime friendship was born in that freshman dorm room. And I am so thankful for it.
Alisa, you were stuck with me then, and I’m sticking with you now. My love and prayers are with you across the miles.