We stood in front of the kids and sang.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because he lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know he holds the future,
And life is worth the living, just because he lives.
It was Resurrection Sunday. We had just watched a video on the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Kids were wiping their eyes and sniffs echoed in the room.
When the last note died, we sat down. It was so quiet. Pastor extended an invitation to anyone who wanted to be saved. A little boy of seven came, towing his friend. He listened while Pastor Pratuan led his friend to Christ, then insisted on being saved as well.
I can picture his face as he prayed. Maybe his eyes lost their customary gleam and his mouth was more serious than usual.
His name was Song.
He was a simple boy with many questions and demands for attention.
His mother had left him when he was three years old, his father was deaf and is now in prison. He was cared for by his grandmother, a Christian woman, but a very elderly woman who could not care for him.
He was saved on April 1st, in the morning. By 3:50 that same afternoon, he was being rushed to the hospital.
We sat in a circle on the grass, all of us, and prayed silently. All afternoon we prayed. We moved inside the dining hall, the kids silent, all of us jumping when the cell phone rang. Still no news on Song.
We must have sat there for an hour when I heard a commotion up at the school. I jumped up and walked out, spotting the older boy, Channon, who had gone with Song to the hospital. He was carrying a shirt.
“Is he ok?”
Channon shook his head.
Up the way I saw Jesa sitting, staring at the ground. I walked to her. I felt like the hallway was so long. She looked up and her face was indecipherable.
“What?” I asked. I already knew.
I sat down next to her.
“He didn’t make it.” Jesa said, her voice odd to my ears.
She pulled me into a hug.
“It’s not your fault.”
The tears came. It was odd to have been so dry and so void inside all afternoon, pleading with God for a boy’s life, holding out on a hope. In a moment to know the truth and to know that the answer from God was no.
It rolled through me. I tried to stop the strange sound that came from my chest, I didn’t want the kids to hear me and come in curiosity. I couldn’t.
Jesa was so much more strong.
“He is with the Lord now.” she said, in that same strange tone.
I know now that that sound was control. She was controlling herself.
That evening, we were called to the assembly hall after dinner. In a long line we walked slowly. It was as if no one wanted to know. I looked up into the sky.
“Se dang, dang.” Chai was walking beside me and he was looking too.
Color red, red.
The moon was red.
We sat and sang softly, waiting for Pastor to get back from the hospital.
We sat for many minutes, the children singing so gently. Every face was somber.
We heard a stir and we all looked eagerly to the stairs. Pastor trudged up, his face weary. He walked to the front of the room and sat. He spoke the words that everyone knew already.
Song is gone.
He told them about him coming to Christ just that morning and encouraged the kids that it wasn’t the end for Song, just the beginning. It was his time. God chose this day, that moment to save him and take him home.
It was so heavy, but hope bloomed like a gentle light all around.
This is why it matters.
The night was long. For those who had been a part, there was no unseeing what had happened. Sleep eluded us.
I read my Bible and prayed for the kids. I prayed that they would see the good and the beauty. I prayed that I would too. Fear stalked. Many could not sleep alone. We all clung together in a new sort of consciousness.
It is so easy. It takes just a moment.
I called my mother at one and talked with her till five. I needed to not be alone. I knew God was with me, but I could see his face still.
Today I felt so conscious of it. It surprised me that the kids rolled so easily. They don’t understand, many did not see it.
Then they told me. Four kids had accepted Christ last night. One more today.
Song is gone. He isn’t here anymore but because God is still God no matter what. In His wisdom, He is using Song’s passing in the lives of the kids here.
I pray that nothing would inhibit the message. I pray that they would understand that standing before God isn’t some distant, unreality. It could happen today. They know the truth, they have heard the Gospel. Jesus is calling.
He paid the price for my sin and for Song’s. He defeated death. It has lost it’s victory and it’s sting. Now, Jesus is alive and because He is alive, Song is safe and sound. No more sorrow, no more abandonment.
I have seen Him work all day. Because He lives.