He has walked in ripped shoes.
Off and on for 18 months.
Until they have split along the sides.
New ones bought; just not comfortable.
So he keeps the old ones.
He's walked in his brothers shoes, too.
On and off for 18 months.
But they were too tight.
Not the younger brother anymore.
Yet not the oldest either.
A hard place to be.
A hard age to sort through such complex emotions.
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
The youngest of these asks me in the car;
Where would he be now?
It takes me a moment.
A question she has asked before.
Trying to piece together the life this side of the veil.
I tell her I am not sure.
He would be off in a school somewhere.
He might even be overseas.
So, he wouldn't even be here?
So she would still be missing him?
That is her real question.
It gets really quiet in the car.
Finally I say to her.
He wouldn't be here.
God has His plan.
He called Elijah home.
His work, here, on earth; finished.
The words hurt coming out.
I think we all want to picture Elijah somewhere; doing something.
I tell her that God is mighty.
He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
That he will uphold us with his righteous right hand.
And here at 18 months.
We have been held.
God has sent his Spirit to intercede when words fail.
He has used our family, friends and complete strangers to come alongside us.
Though the missing is great and deep.
We need to be open and ready for what is still yet to come.
There is much to life that we have been called to do.
Our story; not yet complete.
I plan to take the farm boy shopping for new shoes.
His own shoes.
Shoes that only he can fill.
Shoes that fit.
Shoes that will carry him through the journey God has placed before him.
But I won't throw those ripped shoes away.
I will hold them close.
They show the journey of the farm boy.
Through 18 months.
Yet still functional.
Are you trying to fill someone else's shoes?
This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'