I was going to write about something entirely different today, but then I read Duane Scott's post over at Michelle's place. I remembered something my Dad told me when I was back home this last time......As I read about what Duane so rightly calls, the hard hallelujah, 24 years fell away and I thought about my own period of deep grief and all the events that threatened to swallow my family whole.
Dad told me about the night that God spoke.......It was a Tuesday evening and he was getting ready for a prayer meeting he usually attended. Something kept holding him back. He chalked it up as laziness and continued getting ready. But there was a weight, a heaviness that seemed to be holding him back.
He went but didn't participate in the prayer......He sat quietly in the back, trying to pray, but feeling like he wasn't supposed to be there.
Oppressed by a darkness he couldn't explain.
He says it was as if a strong undertow was pulling him back home. The voice, the Holy Spirit within him was growing louder and more insistent as the night wore on. "Go home and go quickly."
It wasn't audible, it didn't have to be.
Right after he got home the phone rang. It was me calling from Mexico and to this day I don't remember either calling, or the conversation. What my Dad did understand was that the man I had just married three days before had died in an accident and I was left alone.....in a country not my own.
On what was supposed to be my honeymoon.......
If my Dad had not heeded God's voice, my Mom would have had to take that call alone. I don't think she could have handled it.
So while the glow of the wedding was still bright and fresh, the bouquet still in bloom....while relatives had barely had time to get home, they had to come back for a memorial.
And I had to figure out what to do with a future I had all planned out.
The grief was so deep I thought I would never get out. It affected us all. God watched me mess up, veer wildly off the path at times. He watched me deal with the grief all wrong, and that must have been painful for Him to watch.....But in all that time, He never left me.
There are no words for sadness that goes so deep. I remember we all said, "How can the birds still be singing?" In all of our hard hallelujahs no words of comfort ever sound right. But now that I am so far on the other side of that grief, I can comfort others in a way someone else can't and I know it.
But how to comfort when there are no words? The best thing can be just your presence, a hug....shared tears. A listening ear........Stopping by after everyone else goes away.
You might ask the question, "Well, if God spoke once, why didn't He speak another warning? Why didn't He intervene in the big thing that happened.....Why didn't He prevent it?"
There is an answer that comforts me, and I know it to be true. I know my God. There is a reason He didn't intervene, but I don't know what it is. Maybe it was because He was saving me or someone else from an even greater grief further down the road. That is what I choose to believe....it's how I find comfort.
I didn't always have peace about it, but I do now. All these years later, the "why" question matters less and less. Heaven is not nearly as far as we think. The joy that springs up in the heart even in the midst of unbearable sorrow is proof. For we know where they are.......
Though He didn't keep the awful event from happening, I know He loves me more than anything, and I know He was with me every step of the way.
The death of a child is much harder for me to understand. I can't imagine that kind of grief.
All I know is that He loves us so very much, even more than we can imagine, and He loves our loved one even more than we do.
Whoever reads this, please whisper a prayer for Duane, the grieving parents of his nephew and all the family. Thank you Duane, for such a beautiful and real post today and thank you Michelle for sharing it.