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Common Men; Uncommon Master

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joe reed

(Almost) Too Hot to Handle, and Another Thing Not as Hot as You Might Think.

My family and I spent a very casual and relaxed Christmas dinner with my sister and her family, and somewhere in the mealtime conversation she asked me, “So what are you going to write about next?”

I said something like, “I don’t really know. Something other than suffering, for a change.” Granted, for us it’s been a year that has had a lot of suffering in it, and unlike the inimitable 17th century theologian/writer John Owen who was able to endure the death of ten children and hardly pen a public word about it, I’ve hardly been able to think or write about anything else. It’s probably getting old to hear the same thing over and over. So it’s time for a change. Continue reading “(Almost) Too Hot to Handle, and Another Thing Not as Hot as You Might Think.”

Merry Grown-Up Christmas!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4

Some of my fondest Christmas memories involve lying stretched out beside my siblings in the back of our ’79 Caprice Estate wagon, seats laid down to make a bed, Mom lying across the bench seat, asleep with her head on Dad’s lap while he drove all night through yet another Upper Michigan snowstorm. He promised to wake us up to see the Mackinac Bridge, and if we begged him, he’d drive on the grating in the middle lane so we could pop a door open and stare down at the water hundreds of feet below. Mom never really understood the joy of that gift. Never for a moment did I consider even it a possibility we wouldn’t arrived at Gramma’s safely. There’s not a blizzard in the world Dad couldn’t drive through, so when we hit one that was so bad he pulled off in Marquette to spend the night at the Super8, I still think it was probably more because he wanted to let us swim in the pool. Of course, we didn’t pack swim trunks, and ShopKo in Marquette doesn’t sell them in December, so as I recall we bought boxer shorts, swam in them. Good memories, happy days. Continue reading “Merry Grown-Up Christmas!”

How Alice Entered Wonderland, or What Happens to Kids when They Die?

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:13-15

I wasn’t sure I’d ever get this written, but it really is the only additional thing I wanted to write concerning Alice, so after a few attempts, here goes…

I believe Alice is in the Palace, or if you like, she is truly Alice in Wonderland. What I want to do is attempt to explain why I think she’s there. And in doing so, I want to be an encouragement to the many other parents who have lost little ones. One thing this ordeal has taught us: we are not alone in our sorrow. If I have wondered about Alice’s whereabouts, perhaps others have too. Hopefully this helps, it’s helped me. At Christmastime, we need something to be cheerful about, because there seems to be more tears than smiles in our house this year…
Continue reading “How Alice Entered Wonderland, or What Happens to Kids when They Die?”

Alice: Missing

On the seventh day the child died… David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 2 Sam. 12:19b-20

The record of King David losing his infant son was never too far from my mind during Alice’s final weeks. The passionate prayers and sorrows before death, followed by a seemingly immediate return to “normal” life sort of laid out a simple pattern for me that I hoped to follow.

The night Alice died, after I’d lifted her lifeless, already stiffening body off our bed, carried her through the kitchen, out the front door, and set her in the back of that shiny black minivan, laid her on a cot that was far too big for her little body, kissed her cool forehead one last time, pulled up the zipper of that adult size bag – after all, this ride wasn’t designed for kids – I walked back into the house where my Dad was seated at the table, and with reference to David that I knew he’d understand, I said to him, “Time to take a shower and eat something.” Continue reading “Alice: Missing”

Alice and the Vault of Unanswered Prayer

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
– David on a really, really bad day, Psalm 56:8

Statistically speaking, children who develop Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, have a 0% chance of surviving for five years after diagnosis. On average, the time between diagnosis and death is nine months. Continue reading “Alice and the Vault of Unanswered Prayer”

Alice: Honor

Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.
Acts 8:2

Pay to all what is owed to them:
taxes to whom taxes are owed,
revenue to whom revenue is owed,
respect to whom respect is owed,
honor to whom honor is owed.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other,
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:7-8
Continue reading “Alice: Honor”

We welcome you to worship our God, mourn our Alice, and rejoice in her homegoing with us.

Service will be at Lewis Lake Covenant Church Thursday, June 14, 1:00PM

Family visitation 11

Visitation at noon

Committal and lunch to follow.

We want to encourage children to attend. We have asked Pastor Bob to take a few moments to directly address Alice’s siblings, cousins, and all her friends who knew and loved her.

-Joe and Michele

Alice in the Palace

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:15-16

Consider… the happy condition of a Christian! He has his best things last, and therefore in this world he receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are “later” good things, hard plowings yielding joyful harvests. – Spurgeon, ed. by Alistair Begg

Continue reading “Alice in the Palace”

Alice: Walking Through the Valley

For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.
Psalm 72:12-14

Continue reading “Alice: Walking Through the Valley”

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