Over the last year and a half, Restoration has prayed every week that God would heal Carolina Handall. Carolina and her family are dear friends of some Restoration leaders. As our church took on praying and hoping, we got to meet Carolina and her sweet family. We grew in love and care for all of them. We rejoiced when there was good news and we grieved when things got worse.
On Monday, Carolina died.
It has been our highest privilege to watch her fall in love with Jesus and to trust him. She has wrestled with the hard question of ‘why’ when it comes to cancer. But she has demonstrated trust and faithfulness that God is good and will care for her family. For those of us who knew her, this death is heartbreaking. We were praying for a miracle. We had hoped that her cancer might end in a different way. We grieve for her parents and brother, her daughters and husband. Because of who she was, her life will be celebrated on three different continents over the coming weeks.
Tomorrow, March 7, at 11am, we will have a worship service of thanksgiving for her life and a celebration of our hope in the resurrection. All of our Restoration family is invited to attend. Cherrydale Baptist on Military Road will be providing their parking lot and our shuttle will be transporting folks from there to Restoration. We invite you to join us and to pray for Carolina’s family and to give thanks for her life. There will be a reception at Cherrydale Baptist following the service.
We know from our time in Luke that sometimes Jesus chose to heal people– and everyone around would marvel and rejoice. We know that someday there will be no more need for healing because there will be no more sickness, or tears, or pain. Sometimes, Jesus chooses to bring that future promise of grace into our present.
We also know that sometimes Jesus doesn’t do what people request. John the Baptist’s circumstances made him waver and wonder if Jesus was actually who He says he is. When our disappointment and pain get exposed, it raises all sorts of hard questions.
Carolina’s death is one of those times when we might say, why God? Our sadness is real and our longing for a different conclusion is real. Romans 8:23 says that creation and people like us groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption… for redemption. Death is always a reminder that this world is incomplete. And that in spite of how we might spin it, we really have no control over how things end.
So, God gives us words of hope– words that offer an invitation of faith…
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Do you trust this? Even as we mourn and groan and wait?
God IS for us.