Luke had come in early to work on Saturday morning partly to get a stack of papers to grade but mostly to avoid being at home on his daughter’s birthday when his daughter was not. He was angry, of course, but mostly he was forlorn. He hated himself for not having been a better father, a better daddy. He could not help but think that if he had done something differently, his angel would never have left.
His phone rang sharply. He stopped rummaging around his desktop and answered the phone.
“This is Luke Asher,” he said.
“Hey, Dad, it’s Robbie.”
“Hey, son,” Luke smiled at the sound of his little boy’s voice. No matter how often he heard it, it would always bring him joy. “What’s up?”
“Momma’s still in bed.”
Luke glanced at his watch. He frowned. It was already ten-thirty. “Is she still asleep?” he asked his son gently. In all the sixteen years they had been married, Luke had never known Scarlet to stay late in bed. Even when she was sick she would wander out to the couch in order to be closer to her children.
“No. I peeked in on her just a minute ago and her eyes were open. She was just staring out the window.”
“You sure do take good care of your momma, don’t you?” Luke said. His son was very much like him, always protecting those around him.
“I think she misses Rora,” Robbie said faintly. Luke winced upon hearing that. He felt like a hot poker had stuck his gut.
“Do you miss your big sister, buddy?”
“Yeah,” he answered sadly. “How…” he trailed off and Luke heard him sniffle. Luke dropped his head in his hand as sadness overwhelmed him. His family was hurting. His family, his responsibility. Robbie managed to ask his question through his tears. “How am I going to give her the birthday present I got for her?”
Luke shut his eyes tight, fighting off the nightmare that was reality. “I don’t know, Robbie,” he said brokenly. “I don’t know. I’ll be home in half an hour, ok?”
“Take care of Paul and look out for Momma.”
“Yes, sir, I will.”
“I know you will, son. I love you.”
“I love you, too, Dad.”
Luke hung up the phone and dropped it on the desk. He stared blankly at it for a moment and then in a rush of anger, grabbed his desk and flipped it over. He breathed hard, trying desperately to reign in his emotions. He needed to hit something. He longed to unleash his anger and feel flesh bend underneath his fists. He shut his eyes and remembered brushing Aurora’s hair and playing baseball with her in the back yard. He remembered holding her as an infant, cradling her tiny body in his huge hands. He remembered her first steps. He remembered his radical joy the first time she had called him daddy and told him that she loved him. He remembered painting her bedroom pink and Scarlet laughing at him when the dog had run in and splattered the pink paint all over him. He remembered taking her to the hospital to see her newborn brothers, Robbie and then Paul. He remembered cuddling on the couch with her and reading her stories.
“Oh God,” he croaked, choking on tears. “Where did I go wrong? How can I fix this?”
Wait for the Lord, came the answer. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
“God, I don’t think I can keep waiting,” he begged.
God, who has called you into fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ, is faithful.
“Jesus, I’m having trouble believing that! Help me!”
Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
“Oh, Lord, protect my daughter,” he wept.
Luke, My son in whom I am well pleased… I love her even more than you do. Trust Me. I am compassionate and gracious. I am slow to anger. My love and faithfulness overflows.