A careless step, a desperate screech of tires, and a tragic crash landed 19 year-old Matthew in Intensive Care. Surrounded by the love, prayers, and presence of his family and friends, the young man held on, comatose, for the next 17 days. But in the end, the Lord took him Home, leaving behind a legacy of faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ.
In the ensuing weeks, months, and years, Matthew's mother, Beryl, sought to work through her grief and loss on the basis of her faith in Christ. She found comfort in Matthew's past exhortation to his family to "always remember God's place in your life."
As she accepted her son's passing as part of God's loving purposes, she still had to find a way to get through the minutes, hours, days, and months of missing him excruciatingly. It was again in Matthew's legacy of faith and obedience that Beryl found comfort, peace, and purpose.
While going through Matthew's personal effects, Beryl came across some notes he'd made for a devotion he'd given at his grandmother's nursing home when he was just 17 years old. In this devotion, the young man of faith shared some guidelines for how a Christian should walk through painful personal circumstances. Beryl was certainly going through the most difficult days of her life, so she contemplated Matthew's notes with an expressed interest.
His first point was to "focus on Jesus." Beryl reflected that Jesus is bigger than any difficulty a Christian can experience, and so she followed her son's advice and renewed her focus on Him.
Matthew's second exhortation was to remember that the circumstance is only temporary. How she longed for the day she would see her son in Heaven, and together they would enjoy the Lord's presence for all eternity!!
But it was Matthew's third point that gave her direction for her remaining days on Earth. That bit of advice was to "ask the Lord how you can serve Him in the midst of the circumstance."
Once we are focused on Jesus and considering all of life's events from an eternal perspective, we can find peace and comfort, encouragement and direction, from serving Him. Service, then, becomes a gift of God's grace, one that can sustain us until we, like Matthew, step eternally into His presence.
*You can read more about Matthew and his family's response to his death through reading the book On Eagle's Wings by Beryl Boyce.
Read more articles by Christine Rhee or search for articles on the same topic or others.
As you know my son just came home from Iraq after spending 11 months over there. It was the hardest ll months of my life. I prayed that God would protect him and bring him home. He was one of the "blessed" ones to come home alive. This article hits close to home because had God not seen fit for him to come home then I would have been where this family was in struggling with the loss of a loved one. My heart goes out to all mothers who have lost children. As a mother, I can relate. Thank you for sharing this with us. Your sister in Christ.