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The Comforter
by Jeanette Biesecker
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The Comforter

I came home from the hospital in early evening, the bundle in my arms not what I
had expected it to be at all. The nurses had stored her few belongings in a plastic
bag and handed it to me on my way out. Tears had filled their eyes as they had
bid us goodbye. Departures from the maternity ward were usually joyful. I was an
anomaly in their happy routine.

On arriving home, I stored the bag in my bedroom closet, unable to open it. But
despite avoiding the contents of the bag, there were other reminders. The empty
corner of the bedroom where the crib had stood two days ago…the little bibs and
rattles that excited grandparents had already begun to give us neatly stored and
waiting in a box under the bed. Those visual reminders crashed like clanging
cymbals against my tender aching spirit.

My heart cried out to God. Why? It wasn’t supposed to end this way. And her
name rang in my heart and mind over and over…Melissa, sweet Melissa. I cried
myself to sleep that first night, my hands stretched across an empty womb that
two days ago had been filled with life. My husband was too stricken with his own
grief to give much comfort.

The next day as the sharpness of the pain settled into a dull, steady ache, the
spiritual war began inside of me. Blame God! the enemy screamed at me. Get
angry and turn away from Him. He could have saved her if He’d wanted to. I
fought back against the thoughts that hell railed at me. “No,” I spoke out loud to
the enemy. “I won’t turn. You’ll never make me turn against Him.”

I wasn’t a fool. I had turned away from Him once before, a long time ago, in
another season of anger and pain. It had taken me ten years to find my way back
to Him. I had discovered that all that time He had never left me even though I had
walked away from Him. I knew what life was like without Him, and I knew what
life was like with Him. The choice was easy now. I would never turn, no matter
what darkness the enemy hurled at me.

I slowly drew strength from the knowledge that I would not fall this time. I sat and
rocked in the rocker we had put in the bedroom, and I looked out the bay window
toward the sky. In response to the accusations of the enemy, and as a comfort to
my bruised and hurting soul, I began to sing praises in a quivering voice and the
longer I sang, the stronger my voice became and the stronger my spirit grew.

As I sat singing to the Lord, suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I saw a
movement in the window. There was a bee caught between the glass and the
screen. I hadn’t seen it there earlier. I got up to see if there was a way I could set
it free without letting it into the house. As I studied the window, I could see no
way for it to have gotten inside the screen. As I wondered what I was going to do
to get it out of there, a voice clearly and audibly filled my ears saying, “Don’t you
remember what your daughter’s name means?” I was alone in the room, yet I
realized immediately that I was not alone! In fear and wonder, I dropped to my
knees in front of the window and answered, “Honey bee. Melissa means honey
bee.” Immediately I knew that the voice and this bee caught between the screen
and the glass were loving gestures from a compassionate God—it was His way
of saying, I’m here for you and I will comfort you.

I shouted for my husband to come quickly. Concerned, he hurried into the
bedroom to see me on my knees in front of the window, crying. “What is it?
What’s wrong?” I managed to tell him what I had heard and pointed out the bee
in the window. He never doubted the validity of what I told him. Slowly, he inched
up the glass in the window. The bee was slowly moving across the screen. I
watched as my husband gently reached out one finger and stroked the back of
the bee as though it were a cat or a dog. The insect didn’t move as he touched it.

“Set it free,” I pleaded with him. “It’s stuck in there. I know God put it there, but I
want it to be able to go free when it’s ready.” My husband raised the screen
about two inches from the sash and then lowered the glass again. “It’ll fly out
once it realizes the screen is open.” In my heart, I hoped it would stay a little
while longer. It was a physical reminder of the Lord’s presence with me, and I
needed it.

The Lord knew I needed that bee too. Even though the screen was raised with
plenty of room for that bee to fly off, it didn’t. For three days, the bee stayed
inside the window, choosing to stay with me rather than flying off to freedom. On
the third day, it had started to move much more slowly around the screen. I
worried that it would die from a lack of food and water.

I approached my husband with my concern. “What can we do? It won’t leave. I
can’t bear it if that bee dies in that window.” My husband didn’t want to interfere
with God’s plan, so he decided we shouldn’t try to shoo the bee away. Instead he
took some sugar and water and made a paste out of it. Then he took a basting
brush from the kitchen to spread it on the screen near the bee, hoping the
concoction would strengthen the insect.

The creature didn’t go near the makeshift meal. As the day wore on, it moved
more and more slowly. I knew it had to be getting dehydrated. I really did feel as
though the death of that insect would break the strength its presence had given
me, and in grief, I prayed on my knees next to my bed. “Please, Lord. Don’t let
that bee die. I’ve already lost my daughter and you sent this bee to show me that
she is with you and she’s safe with you. I can’t bear it if this bee dies. Please let it
live. Let it go free.”

I stayed away from the bedroom window for an hour after that, fearful that I would
find the insect lying on the window sash. Finally, I had to know. Was it still there?
Was it still alive? I went to the bedroom window and pulled back the curtain. It was gone.
I checked the corners of the window. I even went outside to check the ground
outside of the window. I found no trace of it anywhere. If it hadn’t been for the
sugar paste in the screen, I never would have known it had been there in the first
place. The bee really was gone. After three days, it had finally taken flight
through the opening in the screen. It was the only possible explanation I could
come up with, the only natural explanation that is.

The knowledge that the bee had stayed for three days with me through my grief
has always stayed with me. Three—a holy number. Christ had been three days
in the tomb. God Himself is three in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since that
time, I’ve never doubted the miracle of those days. I’ve never doubted His
presence with me, and I’ve shared this story and testimony with others who were
also grieving the loss of a child. It strengthens them as well. God still does the
miraculous. He always has. We just need to learn to recognize His tender
touches in our lives. Just as He promised, He is with us ‘til the end.

Losing a child is a shattering experience for any parent, but for those who put
their faith in Christ, there is hope. She is separated from me for a time, but she is
not lost and though the experience of her death was extremely painful, it has
shaped me into someone I never would have become if I had not gone through
that pain. I’m in awe of the fact that my own flesh and blood, a little girl who is
part of me, stands before the throne of God singing His praises. It’s the next best
thing to being there myself, and I look forward to a great reunion one day with
one of my biggest cheerleaders from the crowd that watches as I run my race.

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