Monday, January 19, 2015
On a cold windy afternoon just after Christmas, Nolan and Crystal Williams, together with friends and family, gathered at a 200 year old cemetery just a few miles from Highland Academy. In that place, near some evergreen cedar trees, the little body of one-year old River Williams was laid to rest.
As many within our conference family know, in the fall, River was diagnosed with a rare and extremely aggressive tumor which despite surgery and chemo-therapy, continued to return and in the end, the physicians and the limits of their technology could not overcome the disease.
I joined with others, both before, during, and even after Rivers death, asking God "why?" There are answers we offer and they are legitimate and real. We remind ourselves that we are in the midst of a fierce war-fare between Satan, the enemy of all of God's creation, and Jesus Christ. We know that Satan delights in harming, hurting, and if possible, in the process, destroying the faith of God's people. We also know that the final chapters in this Great Controversy are written, and final, and "soon-to-be." And in the end . . . there is no great answer to "why" except to with trembling hands and hope-filled hearts, open the Word, and be reminded of this:
"But now, Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep . . .For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
The hope and faith and optimism born out of these promises, and expressed by Nolan and Crystal, has reminded me that through the pain and disappointment, there is a bright and certain future. The ending words of Jesus in Revelation are appropriate for closing this tribute to River and his family: "Surely, I am coming quickly!" . . . Even so, come Lord Jesus."