TITLE: Widowed - Fair or Unfair
By Jim Oates
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“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1: 21). “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble” (Job 2: 10).
Forty-five years with a person is a lot of togetherness; it is a time of getting to know one another intimately. A time of growing together, so as, we became, as it were, one person in body and mind. This is love, and as such, we were able to anticipate what one another was thinking or feeling.
It was not always this way; there were times when things did not go as smoothly as we would have liked. I lay the blame for most of any unpleasantness that occurred squarely at my feet.
God has a way of working things out, not always in ways of our choosing but in ways that always drew us closer together. Sometimes it was through an illness or the injury of a child, or ourselves. One thing that we committed ourselves to was never to go to bed with any hard feelings between us.
Forty-five years seemed like forever when we were young and looking ahead, but as we grew older together, it seemed as if it was just yesterday that we met and fell in love.
Working together side by side, raising our children and doing what all married couples do, life was good. It was hard at times, but we were together. God was in his Heaven and it was very good. We had made plans for what we would do in our retirement years and on into our eighties. I had a serious illness and she lovingly cared for me. Then as fate would have it, our roles were reversed, and that dreaded cancer came on the scene. We both believed confidently that God would heal her, but He had other plans.
The oneness we shared was severed; I was now left by myself. It was as if I had been sawn in half, I was now only a half of a person. I lived in a fog for at least a year. It all seems so senseless. It is not fair; it is just not fair; what about all the plans we have made, the trips that we were to take? She had many good years ahead of her; she was too young, she was only sixty-nine. It just isn’t fair.
Looking back, I realize that it would not be fair to her, to go on as she was. Could God have healed her? Yes, of course, He could have. However, I now realize that God is sovereign and He has the right to do what He knows is best for all concerned. I do not know what His plans for her were; it must have been something special, for He took her to Himself. Although I desperately wanted to keep her here with me, I would not wish her back to the life she was living.
Looking ahead, I cannot see what God has planned for me. He has been with me through it all; He has given me peace and comfort. Yes, even through tears, and there have been many.
What lies ahead? I do not know; but one thing I do know, God’s word is true and He said, “I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (Heb. 13: 5-6). And in Jn. 14: 27, He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I do not know what lies ahead, but God will not leave me abandoned and alone. Am I lonely? Sure I am at times. However, He has brought new people and interests into my life to keep me busy. I can smile and laugh again with friends. In addition, I know I am in, and am doing His will.
Is being a widower unfair? I do not think so; it is not something I would have chosen for myself, but I recognize that God is sovereign, and I accept my lot as a widower.
Is being a widower normal? Yes. It is a new normal. God has given me the ability to fit into my new normal. The joy of the Lord is my peace and comfort, and I will continue to serve Him in whatever role He has for me. I know that one day, I will see my Lord face to face and my beloved wife again. This is reason enough for living on and trusting in the blessed hope that He has promised to all who believe in Him.
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