Friday, January 18, 2008

The chief end of man

"What is the chief end of man?"
"The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

So went the adapted catechism I learned growing up in Christian school.

Ellie Skee's mom posted a wonderful post the other day about her memorial service, which I just got to read this morning. Here's a clip...

Just before the service came to an end, we did the same thing that we did in Montana. We had the song "We Will Glorify" by Twila Paris play as the lights went out. In Montana we used candles, but here we used tiny flashlights to shine as the music played. This was something very personal to me. Looking back 15 months to when Ellie was diagnosed with cancer, the first couple of weeks are such a blur in my memory. But I remember that the grace of God covered me like a blanket when I had no strength of my own. And I remember that I didn't pray that Ellie would be healed. I wanted her to be, but somehow I knew without asking that this journey would be about suffering, and that if Ellie was to be healed on this Earth that it would not be soon. I knew that there would be a long road ahead. I don't know why I knew that... I just knew. So in those early days and weeks, the only prayer that would come out of my heart was "please, God, please - take glory for Yourself through this..." It was the only prayer that my heart knew how to form. And so, in both of Ellie's memorial services, I turned around to look at the little lights shining all over the room. That light was, to me, the reflected glory of God Himself - shining from the people who loved my little girl. The people who were touched by Ellie's light, which was not her light at all, but the incredible light of her Maker and Savior. I'm crying as I type this, because God answered my prayer. You see, with all due respect to my precious Ellie, she was just an ordinary little girl - just like every other child in the world. Yes, she was special - but no more and no less than every other child... your children... your grandchildren... We are ordinary parents. We don't love our children any more than you love yours. We did not handle this situation any better than any other parent going through such a horrible situation. We simply have an unbelievably powerful God. That one fact has made all of the difference in our lives, and in Ellie's life most of all. The little lights sparkled around the room as the song played... "... we will glorify the King of kings, we will glorify the Lord. We will glorify the Lord of lords, who is the great I AM."

That is the only purpose this life has for me. It is the only reason that I will get out of bed every day. It is the only reason that I will survive the crushing pain that wants to sit on my chest when I realize that my daughter will never put her arms around my neck again. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not strong. I am the weakest human being that you will ever meet. But I have a God who carries me when I cannot walk. I only appear strong because I haven't been able to walk for a very long time. And the only encouragement that I have for you is to stop trying so hard to walk on your own, when you and God both know that you can't.

I was deeply challenged and encouraged by these thoughts. We all have circumstances which break us and render us unable to walk. Several weeks ago, I sat by myself in my van, sobbing on the phone to my dear friend Sue, struggling with "those circumstances" in my life. Sue told me she had this picture in her mind of me flat on the ground, and the Lord wanting to pick me up. I asked through my tears, "Why would I want Him to pick me up, if it's only to do it all over again??"

This is why.

May God be glorified in and through me. Whatever it takes.

1 comment:

MagenRanae said...

Thank you for sharing this, Laurel.