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Pastor column: Is no one going to get the phone?

Pastor Jim Bender

The passing of time trains us to trust the one who always has us in his hand.

All is stripped away. The apartment has been purged. One dozen trips to Goodwill. Three dozen trips to the trash bin. Pictures from the walls have been claimed by the three sons and each of them, and their wives or daughters, have claimed small things that have been assigned value. No one questions why that one thing has value in the eyes of the beholder who claims it and rarely do we ask the beholder to share their reason for keeping the trinket. It's a private affair.

But there is one thing none of us removed. It was a public affair. It was the phone. We reasoned that perhaps, if we tapped into its calling history, we could find when mom stopped answering the phone and, thereby, more accurately determining how long she had remained isolated and helpless after her stroke.

I and her sister, recently arrived from Ohio to pay a visit, found her. We had both tried to call her that day and got no response. On the way from the airport, we expressed concern. And when she didn't buzz us in, we found a way to get in. Our worst fears were realized.

About two weeks later, we buried mom. About a month after that, we stripped her apartment of all vestiges of her life. Except for that one piece which could better inform us of her last days.

It was the last thing we took down. We did not tap into its history. Some things are best left unknown.

If given a choice, mom would never desire to have known the length of her days or the manner of her dying. Few of us want to know such things; such knowledge would haunt our living. It is good to let God be the author and finisher of our days; it is good that He knows and we don't.

We thought the same. It wasn't for us to know how the end ended. This was between mom and her God. Plus, we know how it ends. Alleluia. That particular mystery has been made clear in the revelation of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Knowing how it ends, in the end for all eternity, what more could the phone possibly tell us that would bring any more comfort than what we already have in our Christian faith?

Choosing to not know is to cling to what we do know.