It has been nearly two years since our son’s betrothed was killed in a traffic accident. Our son, at that time, was growing by leaps and bounds in the Lord. He had just graduated from homeschool the year before, and was looking forward to his future: his bride-to-be’s father had just given his approval for our son to court his daughter; he was going to college later that year; and when he was finished; they were to be married. Their dream was to work together in overseas missions. The future was sunshine and rainbows.
All that was changed in a single instant. He had just been on the phone with her, and he was planning on seeing her after work. He was holding down two jobs, saving college money, and also helping me with Nothing New Press packaging and shipping; and that was what he was finishing up before he could see her. She was excited about her brother being back for a visit. She adored her older brother; he was a soldier who had just been accepted into the Army Rangers. He was home on leave before heading out to specialized Ranger training. Our son was thrilled when he was accepted by her father; but finally winning the approval and the friendship of her protective older brother meant even more to him, I think.
She had said on the phone, “My brother’s here, he has a new motorcycle and he wants to take me for a ride on it; I’ll be back in 30 minutes — will you be done by then? Call me back!” He called back in 30 minutes, but it was her mother who answered the phone and gave him the news: his betrothed and her brother had just been killed in a terrible traffic accident.
I can’t even begin to describe what life has been like since. Our son was blessed among men, it seemed, and then, like Job, everything was stripped away in a single day. Sunshine and rainbows were hit head on by the freight train of abiding suffering.
It has been devastating, watching the suffering of my son these past two years. I can’t do or say anything to make it better. I am powerless, except to pray, “Lord, have mercy!” A prayer often on my lips and in my heart. Watching him walk through the valley of the shadow of death reminds me of the grief C. S. Lewis describes in A Grief Observed. It is the faith-shattering, God-doubting, I have lost my way sort of grief.
Where will he end up? I honestly don’t know. He could heal and find his peace with God, or allow bitterness and despair to work its cancer in his heart. I could take comfort from the fact that C. S. Lewis eventually found his way back to the Lord and found peace. But C. S. Lewis was a mature man, well tested and well wised in the ways of God and man. So then I fear again, for my children.
For our son has not been the only one run over by the freight train of suffering. Both our daughters have experienced their own deep dark night of the soul, just as intense, but precipitated by different events, too full of pain to talk about in public. These past five or six years have been unendurable, at times. My hair is falling out by the handfuls. I can’t seem to take enough B vitamin supplements to counteract the accumulated stress.
Then I read an essay like the one Carolyn Mahaney wrote over at Crosswalk.com, effective mothering is born of faith, not fear:
“For every fearful peek into the future, I wish I had looked to Christ instead. For each imaginary trouble conjured up, I wish I had recalled the specific, unfailing faithfulness of God. In place of dismay and dread, I wish I had exhibited hope and joy. I wish I had approached mothering like the preacher Charles Spurgeon approached his job: ‘forecasting victory, not foreboding defeat.’”
Amen, dear sister. I needed to hear that today. The Lord of creation, holy is He, but He also holds me, and my dh, and my children, in the palm of His hand, and nothing that happens on this earth can change that. When we have been so numbed by grief and shock that we cannot hold on to Him any longer, He continues to hold on to us.
He won’t let go. He will never let go. That is my forecast of victory.