a lot happened this day. The two visits with Collin and Paul were key as we begin to process what has happened.
As we left home, I grabbed a few choir CD’s. “Rescue” a song we learned just a couple months ago was one I took, thinking I might want to hear it. After visiting the funeral home, I can’t stop crying. I start to sing over and over in my mind, “I need you Jesus, to come to my rescue! – Where else can I go? There’s no other name, by which I am saved. – Capture me with grace. I will follow you.” I can’t find my peace. I ask God for it.
Wednesday afternoon and a visit with Paul Fisher: (Paul was hunting with him and the last person to see him alive.) As he shared the story, I begin to see Gordon’s “foibles,” as Paul calls them, and the more I hear what happened, I feel myself getting frustrated, (yes, I’ll admit angry) that he went into the woods at a late hour, without boots, unprepared for anything out of the ordinary happening. He always thought nothing could go wrong. I start to feel it was all his own fault.
And as I listen to all the things that went “wrong”, I also start to question God. (note: I think I was angry at Him too, but it took a loooong time for me to admit and talk to Gode about that one. I didn’t want to be angry at the very One I needed so desperately….and anyway who wants to be mad at God.) Couldn’t He have intervened? Just one little change and the outcome would have been so different. He could easily have cleared the weather, stopped the snow, raised the temperature, had the rescue dog team be closer – yet He didn’t. As I sit here, pondering all of this, I finally verbalize what we all were thinking: “It seems to me that any one of those things could have easily been overruled by God. None of those were things too big for God to easily handle, yet he chose not to do so.” Dad says, “It’s was Gordon’s time.” And Paul says “I believe it simply comes down to this: God said ‘Gordon, It’s time. I am taking you home with me. Take my hand and let’s go.”
Then he adds, “It’s so in-character for who Gordon is, that he died the way he did. And I believe that God didn’t take him because of his “foibles” but He took him in his foibles!” This start to bring me peace. Nothing that happened out there was out of character for my risk-taking, accident-prone brother. That is why I said on Sunday night, when we heard he was missing – “I hope my brother hasn’t used up his ‘nine lives’ with this.” Neither was God caught off-guard by anything that happened those 30+ hours.
Then Paul adds the words that made the “real difference.” “Tuesday morning as I was grappling with all that had happened and was struggling mightily with it all, I asked, ‘God, how is this love.’ And then I knew….the Cross stands above it all. There is no other explanation.” And I add, the cross AND the resurrection! And then I begin to feel the peace for which I have prayed.
Wednesday Evening A visit from Collin Hanson:
Collin and Patty are long time friends of Carol and Gordon. And Patty has been part of Creative Memories all these years with Carol and I.
People come and go most of the day. That night, Collin and Patty Hanson come to visit. Collin is an EMT, who went to the site as soon as he heard, to be part of the search team. He was with the dog team when they found him. Collin says they could detect no vital signs and they did not have the equipment there to really test what was happening. They put their coats over him to try to warm him.
Transporting him by ATV and then in the ambulance, Collin was with him, praying over him, calling his name, hoping Gordon would wake up. He says he has been on teams like this before but never has he been on a team where most of the people were people of faith. Patty said when Collin broke down, realizing Gordon was gone, the other EMT ministered to him. No one can know how comforting it is to know Collin was there, to tell us what had happened. And then to know Collin was praying over him, loving him into heaven. Mom and Dad just look at each other, as more and more of the story unfolds and say “There is no other explanation – God said it was time.” And his wife Carol said, “God is never late. He’s never early. It was just time.”
I still do not understand God’s Sovereignty. I accept it. If I could explain it, then would He be Soveriegn? As I write this 5 years later, I simply know that nothing surprises God. Nothing goes by unnoticed. Did he cause it or allow it? I don’t know. But I do know we experienced His presence in a very real way that day. A quote on Facebook yesterday rings so true: God does not promise protection, but He does promise presence