“Troubles yet to come.”
That’s what ‘the presence’ said in response to my question about the scratching, the scraping, and scurrying across the ceiling. What about that? Well, it is common sense. Troubles are always yet to come . That’s the way it is. The car breaks down. The dog runs away. Someone gets fired. It’s just another day.
But, I will tell you this: common sense doesn’t seem all that common when it is wrapped in a dystopian nightmare. The presence could just as easily have said, “Tuesday will follow Monday next week” and it would have felt as if the Prophet Elijah had ridden in on a flaming chariot thundering that message.
I guarantee you that if that happened you would sit down by the road and not get up until you had figured out the significance of him coming to state the obvious. Why would Elijah go to all the expense to tell me what I already know?
Because of the surrealistic drama that accompanied the statement of the obvious I knew it in a way I had never known it before.
My God…there ARE TROUBLES YET TO COME!
They are tapping on the windows, scratching on the wall, running across the ceiling.
Troubles are not merely happenstance events that make all that racket. Happenstance doesn’t tap, scratch, or scurry. The enemy sews weeds in the wheat field and we wrestle not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers. And, Satan is a roaring lion stalking about seeking whom he may devour. There is a silver-tongued serpent that slithers in the garden of God and Death, the final enemy, though breathing its last breaths still breathes.
Creation groans like a woman in travail waiting, waiting, waiting…And we hear the hooves of horses hammer overhead: famine, pestilence, sword, and death.
Troubles are not the absence of peace anymore than evil is the absence of good.
COVID, as my Infectious Disease doctor said, “Is one sneaky little bastard.”
And dumb Job, sitting on his dung heap, never knew that his suffering came at the hand of a chaos creature who wagered with God.
Troubles live, if you want to call maiming, infecting, and killing living.
They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are malevolent and some are out to ruin your day, to mess with you. But they are scratching at the wall, tapping on the window, and scurrying across the ceiling trying to get in.
Linda and I sat on the bed. We leaned against the pillows stacked against the headboard. We drank our coffee. The wee hounds snoozed between us. We waited for Kelly Clarkson to grace the TV screen. (I waited for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. The best was yet to be!). The Peanuts gang, printed on flannel sheets, waited too.
God was in his heaven and all was right with. the world.
The door was locked.
We were living our best life for that now.
Then Linda died.
Death slipped in like dust through our leaky windows
The good things of life (the best is yet to bees) do not occupy their own space while the troubles occupy theirs. They each slip like spies into the other’s camp. There is light that shines in darkness. But there are shadows in the brightest rooms. Dark critters invade the place of healing but there is healing too.
If it was then that she had to die… If it was her time to depart (or be taken) she did so from the very setting she envisioned. She was fresh from having spent time with Amber, from hearing her mother’s face-timed “I love you,” from having spent the Spring imagining with me the old story – that vision of a time and place when heaven comes to earth and death will face its demise and every tear will be wiped from out eyes.
I intend to be with Linda on that day. And, I like to imagine that I will bring a gift for her And I will hand her that gift.…And She will open it and find a simple white coffee cup printed with these words in black:
“Sweetheart…This is the best day ever!”