When the phone goes off after midnight at the pastor’s house, it’s never good news. It’s always someone’s life has or is about to change significantly.
It was the case last night, which has made me scrap what I originally intended for today.
Our dear friend Andrea, who guest posted here only a few weeks ago about the loss of her special needs daughter last year now faces another loss--the man she intended to spend the rest of her life with died yesterday in a work-related accident.
A phrase from a hymn comes to mind, “When sorrows like sea billows roll . . ."
As we and other loved ones sat on her front porch with her in the dark hours of the night, we could have just as easily been on the bow of the ship, because it sure did feel like sorrow was crashing against her and us in mighty waves.
No one wants someone they love to ever endure the kind of pain she has faced. I can still feel the shudder of her sobs as I sat next to her. We want to wind the clock back to another time for her or jettison her to another place to get her away from this suffering. If only.
The tragedy leaves us sputtering for words and even before we finally get out the one-word question, we know there is no answer this side of heaven to “Why?”
I’ve told Andrea that the entire time I’ve known her, she has lived at 911. Her daughter’s health was so fragile long before her death, that they were always on alert for the next ambulance ride, or helicopter airlift. It was a difficulty beyond what most people ever realize exists in the world.
The next lyric Horatio Spafford wrote in the hymn I referenced above was, “Whatever my lot, thou hast caused me to say, it is well. It is well, with my soul.” He wrote this hymn in the place where his four daughters had perished when their boat went down.
The thing I know is that despite these heart wrenching losses Andrea has suffered, it is well with her soul. That is the difference faith makes. That is what helps her and us stand in times like this. In Andrea’s own words in her last post, “It is not in my own strength that I live. If it weren’t for God’s grace and mercy poured out to me, I would not have been able to exist after my daughter died.”
It will be her faith in God and his grace and mercy that will once more sustain her and help her experience joy. I am confident of that.
I had the privilege of singing with her this past Sunday. We were a little unsure of our timing so we locked in on each other’s faces so we could sense the next move. I was so struck with how full of joy her beautiful face was, of how full of joy she often is despite her sufferings.
I will hold that face of joy in my heart as I pray for her in this time of such sadness.
I know I have written much about loss lately. But I won't apologize. That is a season we've been in. Sometimes, life is barbed, ragged, and just plain sad. But even when it is, we hold on to Jesus because He is faithful. And He will bring us round to joy, again. Just as you can see that slice of blue above those dark clouds in the picture above, the joy is there.
The Psalmist wrote about that in a verse Andrea concluded with in her last post here, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Join me in praying for Andrea and her precious family that the morning would indeed come for them.
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