When It's Time
© 2005, Ferna Lary Mills
As all of America grieves, I also grieve for those who have lost their family, homes, and
communities as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  It broke my heart seeing the horrors so many
people endured as they suffered from things I can't imagine even in my worst nightmares. I can
not imagine the terror. I can not imagine the devastation. But, I can to some degree imagine the
pain and anguish of being forced to wait.

Their loss was great. Their circumstances were dire. They waited for what seemed an
insurmountable time for even basic necessities, traumatized by their immediate crisis as well as
the unknown fear of what was still yet to come. They waited for rescue crying, "We want out!"

They stood in line waiting for that hand that would lift them out of their torment. They were
waiting for a savior to take them to a place where their needs would be met, where their heart
would be comforted, to a place where they would be safe once again.

Waiting is hard. It's doubly hard when you witness so many others going ahead of you. There
were children separated from parents, parents separated from their own parents, and friends
separated from friends. They watched some of their loved ones die, watched others leave on a
bus; some were missing, yet they remained behind not knowing, and waiting. They didn't know
where their loved ones had gone, or when (or if) they would ever be reunited. Their hands were
tied and all they could do was wring them and cry and wait, until it was their turn to go.

That's a horrific predicament. One I hope no one has to ever endure again. As I think on all of
this, it occurs to me that although not that horrific, living with grief has some similarities.

We're stuck here on this big round planet ~ waiting. We've been left behind, waiting our turn to
go to that "safe place".  Living with our grief is sometimes simply unbearable. Our anguished
soul cries for relief. Where is our place of refuge where our heart will be healed, where we will
no longer suffer this unbearable loss? When will it be our time? When will the hand of our
Savior reach out and take us home?

In the anguish of my own grief, I have wanted to paint letters on my rooftop to signal how bad I
wanted out. I begged Him to take me "home" so I could be with my loved ones again.  But He
said, "Wait."

Many of my loved ones are gone. As a Christian, I know where they are, but I still yearn for the
time to come when I can be reunited with them again. In the meantime, I'm still waiting.  It's not
my turn.  I know there is a purpose to my still being here, so instead of wringing my hands, I
place them together in prayer and ask Him to show me that purpose.

First, He tells me that I am not left here to endure my grief alone. Not only does He promise to
never leave us or forsake us, He also promises to hear our cries and answer our prayers. We
don't have to go through this alone.

Second, we are not alone in our misery. It takes but a moment to look around and find someone
else suffering so much worse.  Katrina showed us that.  In New Orleans, as they waited and as
I could only watch it unfold on the news, I saw someone help a weary mother carry her two
small babies, and another helped a weak, elderly woman by giving her a drink of water. Others
fanned the fainted and hugged the faint of heart.

Because we are not alone, we can help one another.  In fact, it's our responsibility.  Jesus said,
"comfort one another ... encourage one another ...  love one another ... ", and I believe that is
the main reason we are still here, no matter what trials we are going through. One day our time
will come, but for now there is much to do.

There is a time to grieve, and when our grief is so intense it is all consuming.  But, as
Christians, we do not have the right to sit and weep forever. There is also a time that we must
rise to meet the task at hand. You will know when you are ready for that "time". There is a
reason we are still allowed to make footprints on the dust of this planet.

There is a time to stop looking backwards or inwards, counting all of our own losses instead of
our many blessings. There is a time to dry our eyes so we can focus on the needs of others.  I
promise, there is someone, somewhere, not far from where you are right now, that needs
something you can provide, even if all you have left is a hug.

When it's finally time for you to go home, you won't miss the bus just because you were busy
helping others or taking the time to be kind. The Lord himself will hold that door open for you
and proclaim with a smile, "Well done, Thou good and faithful servant!"

May God bless you and comfort you and give you Peace.


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