“Bruchko,” he said, “my body hurts. I hurt everywhere.” “Shh,” I said. “You need to be quiet. We want you to be well. We want you to be strong.” He shook his head, barely moving it. “No, Bruchko. I’m not well and I’m not strong. I have closed my eyes.” His eyes did close, and he slipped off. I stayed near him. Later he opened his eyes again.
“Bruchko, I heard a voice like the spirits that talk when they try to kill you.” I nodded. “But this voice called me by my secret name, by my real name. No one alive knows my real name, but this spirit called me by my real name. So I called to it and said, ‘Who are you?’ and it said, ‘I am Jesus, who has walked with you on the trail.’ . . . So I told Jesus that I hurt all over, from my head to my toes. And Jesus said that he wants me to come home.” His breath was coming with difficulty.
“Help me, brother!” he whispered, looking at me. “Help me!” Then he turned his eyes away. “But you can’t,” he said. “I’ve been embraced by death. I’m leaving, Bruchko. I’m leaving. I can’t see. There’s only pain. God is here, and he wants to take me on the path we couldn’t ever find on our hunts, the path that goes beyond the horizon to his home.” Then he smiled, and his face looked for a moment like the one I knew. “Not alone,” he said. “Not alone. I won’t walk it by myself. There’s a Friend who wants to take me. And he knows my name, my real name.”
Then his body sagged. He clutched my hand, and his fingers gradually went limp. I set his hand down beside his body and walked out of the home.
Bruce Olson, Bruchko (Orlando, 1995), pages 174-175.
Not either/or, either pain or God. But both/and, both pain and God.
So be it, for the glorious display of his strength in our weakness.
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