The other day, I let my three-year-old daughter ride her scooter on the sidewalk in front of our house, despite my irrational fear of her suddenly being kidnapped by a random psychopath. I wasn’t especially worried about it because I was landscaping just a few feet away. Occasionally, I looked down the slope from our house to make sure she wasn’t going too far down the sidewalk.
After spreading some mulch for a few minutes, I looked up and noticed that I couldn’t see her head coasting down the sidewalk anymore.
“Renee?” I called.
She didn’t respond.
“Renee,” I said more loudly, walking down the steps to the sidewalk. That’s when I saw her scooter lying on its side, but she was nowhere to be seen. The sight of it gave me an eerie, sickening feeling.
I knew Renee wasn’t inside, because she would’ve walked right past me to go through the front door; so I asked my wife to go to the backyard and see if she was there.
“She’s not back here!” my wife yelled.
My stomach dropped, and my insides began shaking as I imagined the worst, which wasn’t hard. I mean, my daughter is way too friendly sometimes, and we don’t live in the safest neighborhood in Washington, D.C. It’s not crime-ridden or anything, but we occasionally have sketchy men who pass by on the sidewalk. So all of a sudden, it seemed like an actual possibility that Renee was with one of them.
I ran up the street, yelling her name and uselessly trying to make my body stop shaking, but she didn’t respond and my body didn’t stop shaking. So I did the only thing I could do: I reached for my phone to get ready to call 911. We had to find her before it was too late.
Then my wife came out the front door.
“She’s inside!” she yelled.
“Oh my gosh,” I said, breathing out a sigh of relief through my shivering lungs. I didn’t know how she got inside, and I didn’t care. Our two-minute nightmare was over.
Sad, True Things
My aunt knows a woman from a rural area in Arkansas who was at a community softball game with her four-year-old daughter, and after the game, she couldn’t find her anywhere. She never did. Someone took her, and they never found the kidnapper or even a clue about what happened.
I know two grown men whose father left their mother four times when they were growing up until finally, their mom kicked him out one day. They grew up to be good men, but deep down inside, they sometimes still grieve the family they never had.
When my sister was a little girl, a careless five-year-old put a BB gun in her face and pulled the trigger, causing irreparable damage to her eye. It resulted in emotional trauma and a series of surgeries that eventually ended with her eye being removed.
These are sad things we don’t like to think about. We don’t want to imagine the final minutes of a missing four-year-old’s life, or two little boys crying as their dad walks out the door again, or a little girl with a patch over her eye being called “Cyclops” by another careless boy at a skating rink.
Sadness in Reverse
We don’t like to think about those things because we’re convinced that kind of damage will never be undone. And we’re wrong. Jesus is making “all things new” – even the worst things – and one day, He’s going to come back and undo all the abuse, the death, the injury, and the pain. He “will wipe away every tear from their eyes” – both of my sister’s eyes – “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things [will] have passed away” (Revelation 21:4-5).
In The Return of the King, Sam barely survives the journey to destroy the deadly ring; and then, to his own surprise, he wakes up safe and in the keeping of the king.
Gandalf stood before him, robed in white, his beard now gleaming like pure snow in the twinkling of the leafy sunlight. ‘Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?’ he said.
But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: ‘Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?’
Everything sad will come untrue in the moment King Jesus takes us safe into His keeping. And like a dad who realizes his little girl isn’t missing after all, we will breath a deep sigh of relief through our shivering lungs.