Every now and then, Jesse does something so normal that I almost forget anything has happened. . .almost. It’s funny how common words take on new depths as life goes on. Words like “almost”, for example. It’s almost Christmas. It’s almost 2016. It’s almost our 14th wedding anniversary.
“Almost” indicates one of two things: Anticipation of something longed for or relief of something unwanted but nearly had. Humanity lives in a constant state of almost, of longing for the shift from “almost” to “all done” or of rejoicing for the “almosts” that have remained “undone”.
Anticipation: Jesse’s tumor is almost gone. His seizures are almost under control. His body is almost free of the steroids.
Relief: Jesse almost died. I was almost a widow. Our children almost fatherless…almost.
This is nothing new in the world. Men and women alike lose spouses to the grasp of death every single day. They lose children and parents and siblings. Death unites humanity in its blindness to our differences. We are all alike in our certain and impending end. In the beginning, we walked in unbroken community with a King, though we were just commoners. Then came the serpent and the deceit and the eaten fruit and the revelation of the wronging, the fear of being found out, the realization that everything was known, the hope, and the consequence. Genesis 3 tells the story of the first deception of satan and rebellious act of mankind. It seems a gloomy story full of despair and fear as purity and perfection in human life were marred.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall crush your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
To the woman he said…” Genesis 3:9-16
Just as there is with every other story, there is purpose in the progression of this one. Satan deceives woman while man looks on, woman eats and offers to man, man eats, both know right from wrong, and both recognize their brokenness and hide. God seeks them out, and (Soak in this goodness, friends!) the very embodiment of Purity, with rebellion in His presence, turns not to mankind first but to the serpent, prefacing every darkness He would speak over humanity with hope. This is so significant to our understanding of who God is and what He has chosen for us. This is the first telling of the coming of Christ, spoken before our consequence. “He shall crush your head and you shall bruise his heel.” His saving sacrifice was made known before the coming darkness like a lit match waiting to be tossed onto a pile of dry wood. Satan would wound Christ; Christ would defeat Satan. Before the weight of sin was placed on the shoulders of Adam and his nameless wife and the debilitating burden of grief and strife and sickness fully made known, before the depth of separation of child from father was understood, the Lord spoke of the hope of re-connection and restoration with His fallen children. Never once has He turned away from us. Never once. In the beginning, before our rebellion and immediately after we were found blamed and accursed, He remained, still and always. . .waiting, watching, and pouring out His eternal Hope into the trembling blood-soaked hands of mankind. Hope. Persistent, prevailing, ever-present, never-fading, never once lost…Hope.
Whatever you are facing today, whatever you have faced in your past, whoever you have been, whoever you are struggling now to be or not to be…Remember, in a moment when God could have immediately looked on our sin-filled selves and cursed us for eternity, He spoke first of the Hope of defeating sin and restoring you (and me and all of man) to right relationship with Him, and then of the consequence of our sin. He turned to the serpent and told us for the first of many times of the salvation coming. You are almost a thousand things every day, but you are always yearned for by the God who squelched the biggest “almost” ever suffered with the greatest “always” ever spoken: Jesus Christ.
-We have an appointment with our oncologist tomorrow to see the results of Jesse’s most recent MRI and talk through next steps. God continues to pour His grace over us as we often trudge through deeply difficult days. We have had no shortage of fear and despair, nor have we had any shortage of hope and joy accompanying us over the past few weeks. God is ever near us.
-In the words of my sister: “I wish I could make ‘Thank You!’ sound bigger.” The love and provision you all have given us since we began this part of our lives has been an overwhelming grace. You will never fully understand how deeply what you all have done has changed us, and how much we have seen Jesus in each of you. Thank you!