I don't think we could have fit anything else into this weekend had we tried. A pasta dinner for 30 high school tennis girls, a baby shower (with two-week old baby), a graduation/ birthday party, a tennis quad, a family reunion, church, dinner out, and... the wake for a fourteen year old.
Her death was instant. There was no warning. There was nothing that could have been done. It could not have been prevented. Her life could not have been saved. No one is at fault.
Yet a fourteen year old is dead.
In all honesty, I don't know how non-Christians cope with tragedies like this. Even with hope and a loving God, it's hard to bury a fourteen year old who seemed healthy one minute and gone the next.
Is our God not a loving God who cares for His children? I don't just mean Emily. What about her family? Her parents? Her older sister? Her friends whose home she was walking home from? Fifty minutes worth of drivers who drove down that busy street without noticing her unconscious and not breathing on the sidewalk? Her classmates about to enter high school without her?
But I believe Emily was not alone on that sidewalk. God was with her every step of her walk home; she just arrived at a different Home than would have been expected. Even though her body was kept breathing for two days, Emily was immediately delivered into the loving arms of her Creator.
The same God that cradles their precious daughter, holds tight to Emily's parents giving them the strength to host mourners in their home, the ability to make jokes and even laugh a little as the receiving line weaved through the funeral home and out into the parking lot. He holds their tears, their hands, and their hearts.
He will be glorified, even though this situation our human eyes see as tragic and incomprehensible. That is my prayer.
It’s the only thing I can pray. And I was just a student, nine years ahead of her at the same school.