Little Ezra’s mark…

Tress and I visited a family on Friday night. They’ve been in Melbourne for over year. They have the usual challenges for a relatively new migrant family and we just wanted to make ourselves available as friends and for company. We sat in their kitchen, as we listened to their stories.

The next morning, I woke early and went to St Alf’s for a men’s breakfast talk. Mark Sneddon talked about the challenges of balancing professional, family and personal issues and how his faith and Christians around him helped him deal with those issues. It was a highly personal and thought provoking talk. It invited compassion, understanding and camaraderie as men, to come alongside each other and support each other through life’s often hard journey.

Having visited the new migrant family and talked to them the previous night, listening to Mark really reinforced the reality of life’s many challenges many people have to face. Little did I know how these two encounters were to pale into insignificance in terms of the impact on Tress and I, compared to what lied ahead of us.

Tress and I were working on the garden on Sunday afternoon, and Tress had then gone into the house to do some cooking while I continued working in the garden. When I started cleaning up, I picked up my phone and read a text from my uncle Stephen which left me completely shocked and speechless.

Little Ezra came into the lives of my cousin Ruth and her husband Jonathan in Adelaide on October 18. He was little but otherwise looked healthy and well. His photographs, taken with proud beaming parents holding him in turn, were of the usual angelic beauty of baby pictures. My uncle Stephen and auntie Paddy had then joined them from Malaysia a week or so later and had been staying with them, cooking traditional confinement meals for Ruth which Jonathan also enjoyed. All seemed well and everyone were truly happy.

So it came as a shock when we were told that baby Ezra had passed on. He went to be with the Lord on the morning of 10 November. He was just over 3 weeks old.

For the next few hours, I was numbed, not quite knowing what to think or say. I tried to ring my uncle but someone picked up the phone but did not say anything. I then thought I’d leave them alone for a while, but I still do not know what to say to them. All I wanted was for them to know that they have people who would pray and be at their side if they needed or wanted this. God is all loving and all knowing – we are often asked to relate to our Creator from His purpose, not ours. And yet, often it is our narratives, our experiences, our journey that shape us and put us in a position to relate to Him. How do these two spheres interact? When and how, does His purpose make sense of our individual journeys? CS Lewis’s Screwtape said this:

Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks around upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Only He can make us respond that way, and only we can decide to respond that way…


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