My niece is dead.
There is no subtle way to say this. She was just a baby. There’s a list a mile long of things she never had a chance to do, achievements she never completed.
I never got to hold her.
I’ve sat here, half a world away, looking at images of this sweet girl. I’ve sat here and I’ve wept. And my pain is minuscule compared to that of her parents.
Why would this happen to her? to them? It’s not fair. When this kind of nonsensical pain is so evident in the world, I understand why people don’t believe in God.
But He is there.
I can’t sit here and quote Bible verses attempting to explain why this happened to Eisley. I won’t quote Romans 8:28 or James 1:2 to Eisley’s mom and dad. It’s trite. It minimizes their pain, as if this is supposed to be a happy time in their lives. This is the worst – the unthinkable, unimaginable pain is something they should not have to experience.
Attempting to answer “why” is an exercise in futility, but answering “who” isn’t. Jesus is with them. Spiritually, yes – the Holy Spirit indwells them, but more than that. Their family, friends, everyone who has come alongside them is doing physically what Jesus would do. “Mourn with those who mourn. Weep with those who weep.” Jesus wept when Lazarus died; the Father’s weeping at the pain of all His children. Those of us who can be near them are actually being Jesus to them. So they can have some reprieve of the pain, some measure of comfort, but it doesn’t bring their child back.
What hope do we have, then?
That this life isn’t it. That when the Bible speaks of a New Heaven and a New Earth it’s not just blowing hot-spiritual air at us. It’s speaking to us of reality. That *this* life is the shadow, and the coming life is the really-real. It’s there that we’ll find ourselves alive and singing. It’s there that we will live life to the fullest. We’ll know more than we’ve known before; do more than we’ve done before; love more than we’ve loved before. But we’ll hope no more. Because our hope will be fulfilled.
It’s there that I will see my niece. It’s there that her parents will hold her, and get to hear her voice say, “I love you mom and dad.” She will smile, walk, discover, create, love, and worship. There’s a list a mile long of things my niece is going to do and achievements she will accomplish.
My niece is alive.
And she’s waiting for us.
Eisley Hope Klein Hutchinson.