Today, we put the first of my mother’s 26 grandchildren in the ground.  For as large a family as we have, it is a blessing that we have not had to deal with the death of one of ‘our kids’ before this.

Since fourth grade for me, long before that for others, this family has been prayed for… cried over… pleaded with. 

Devin Lee Smith and his baby girl Keyliah (Keelee) were buried today with family members assuring one another that he’s in a place where he can derby race all day and not be nagged about his ‘grease monkey’ clothes.  Is now the time to question their hope?  Do you confront them with the necessity of God if they are to believe in an afterlife even as they mourn?  While Nita -a girl barely 17… still just a baby herself- struggles to accept that she is missing the service for her lover and child, is NOW the time to plead with them?

It is not IMPOSSIBLE that Devin came into the fold.  The previous week he had many deep discussions with a cousin who has been inputting spiritual things into his life since I left for college.  A former classmate of mine has ministered to him as a youth pastor and fellow auto enthusiast.  A mentor who had previously lost a son has also had opportunity to approach him with spiritual things.  His grandfather on the Dockweiler side left a strong spiritual legacy.  He went to AWANA as a child.  He has heard the gospel many times in many ways from many mouthpieces.  I have no proof to lean on.  I have no assurance. 

And when they mentioned as a remembrance at his funeral that Devin did things his own way, didn’t like to go by the book… preferred to write his OWN book… do things his OWN way, I can’t help but think that this is more than a description of his personality.  It is very probably a description of where he was spiritually.  And that is one area where writing our own book and doing things our own way is of no use to us. 

So, as I listen to the pastor “push” the gospel message (for which I am thankful)… presenting it no less than three different times, three different ways… I wonder, will today be the day?  Can it be today, God? Will you answer my prayers for this family today?  Will you unstop their ears, open their eyes and soften their hearts TODAY?? Can I finally cry with tears of joy for them? Please? 

As I claim the promise of the petitioning widow, as I remind God that He said the children of a righteous man don’t go hungry and try to weasel my way into making Him acknowledge the righteous man who bore my sister who is spiritually famished, as I plead and again point out (as if He didn’t already know without my mentioning, as if I haven’t put this ‘bargaining chip’ in front of him regularly for the past 10 years) that turning this family to him would be a profound witness to a community that is well aware of their many problems, as I argue that they already belong to Him, that He has merely to call for them to answer… as I weep, now not because Devin may be lost, but because my heart aches for him to be the only question mark…,  I hear the pastor speak from Psalms…

“Wait on the Lord.”

God, I continue to plead.  I continue to petition.  I continue to pray.  But I determine (and let me be as DETERMINED as my nephew EVER was) to accept your will.  I will hope.  I will pray.  I may even confront despite their grief.  But I WILL seek Your will above all.  I WILL love you more than even my own family.  More even than my very own babies.  I WILL determine to praise you in whatever answer you give.

Yet, I will ask every day, for the rest of my life or theirs, until I am answered: Can it PLEASE be today?  Will you please claim them all, every one, as Your own TODAY?