My Dad would have turned 96 today if he hadn’t passed away in 2011. I can still recall my last phone conversation with him after the hospice nurse called to say his time was short. We lived several hours away and even though we left as soon as we could, we did not get there in time.
Meanwhile, my Mother–recovering from cancer surgery in an out-of-town hospital–was transported by ambulance back to their assisted living facility, but also arrived too late. Exactly three years and three weeks later, she died too.
Many years have passed, but I still miss them terribly. And deep down, we’re all grieving some kind of loss aren’t we? Whether it’s been days or decades since we got the bad news, we all mourn something ripped from our grasp: health, marriage, finances, friendship, dreams, and so much more.
Whatever you’ve lost, I pray that my friend David’s story will encourage your weary heart today–or perhaps you’ll share it with someone else who needs uplifting.
Davidhas faced the incomprehensible twice with his family. The first time was when his youngest son Kevin died of AIDS. The second was a few years later when his middle son Alan committed suicide.
“These past months have been like a dream gone bad,” David says. “My feelings have ranged from shock and disbelief to pain, anger and guilt.”
David, a man of great faith who is a respected Bible teacher, is at a loss to understand how and why 49-year-old Alan could do the unthinkable, leaving behind his wife and three children.
“Alan was a handsome, intelligent, free-spirited, fun-loving guy; a prankster with an extraordinary sense of humor who could make even the most orthodox double over in laughter in a heartbeat,” David says. “Alan was high voltage, fearless and loved living life on the edge. He was into dirt bikes, hunting, catching rattlesnakes and sky-diving.”
But in recent years Alan became addicted to prescription painkillers from several injuries and surgeries, David says. And on a cold winter day he left his Michigan home in deep despair and disappeared into some nearby woods where he took his own life.
The days since Alan’s death “have been most challenging to say the least,” David says. “Sudden waves of grief come rushing in from out of nowhere, twisting our souls with all kinds of emotional contortions,” David says.
And yet even as their world has been terribly shaken again, David and his wife are finding God’s supernatural strength is seeing them through.
“When we find ourselves in the deepest of despair, still underneath us are His everlasting arms,” David explains. “As believers we are not immune to the tragedies of life—even when everything around us seems to collapse, we never can be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the Father’s everlasting arms.”
The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27
My friend, whatever loss you are grieving today–please remember you never can be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the Father’s everlasting arms. Let Him safely hold you today.
Excerpted from When GOD & Grief Meet © 2009 by Lynn Eib.
 Names and a few details of David’s story have been changed to protect his family’s privacy. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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