"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort..." ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV)
The words penetrated the aching cloud of grief that had held me captive for the past month. The God of all comfort...
I thought of the long, dark night when Adam and I had sat in our living room with our six living children and our new son-in-law gathered round us, having just learned that our gentle giant of a son, Jeff, had been taken from us at age 25. Why, oh why, had he gone for a drive after work on that bitter cold December night? If only he had known the country roads were dotted with patches of thick ice fog. Had he even seen the stop sign? Had the grain truck driver even seen Jeff's headlights as he drove his heavy load down the highway?
I thought of the many times we had driven past that spot on the highway, over the skid marks that told the tale of two trucks colliding and screeching to a halt, crumpled and silenced, in the snowy field north of the road. We had to travel that route every time we drove to town... every weekday for our three youngest sons on their way to and from school... every Saturday when we went shopping... and every Sunday when we went to church.
I thought of the precious gift God had given me toward the end of that first week after Jeff's death. I would never survive if I re-enacted the horrible accident every time we drove through that spot on the highway. I had to get a grip! But how??
My heart cried out to God, and He answered. "My child, instead of thinking of this as the spot where Jeff suffered a horrible tragedy... see it as Jeff's Portal to Heaven... the place where he met Me, his Lord and Saviour, face to face for the first time."
I thought of the wonderful young man Jeff was... an exemplary son, and best of friends with all of his brothers and sisters. I thought of his generosity with his truck, driving his siblings to the city whenever they asked. With a jolt, I thought of how easy it would have been for us to have lost several children in an accident instead of one.
I thought of how well all of our children were handling the loss of their big brother. Even our youngest, ten-year-old Nathan, who returned to school in January and had to paint a plaster-of-paris mold he had made of our family in art class. They had made them before the accident, and had left them to dry over Christmas. Nathan didn't know what colour to paint the brother who had gone to be with the Lord, so he left him white.
"He's wearing a white robe now, Mom," was his simple explanation.
I thought of the complete lack of regrets, and the knowledge that there was nothing we would have done differently with our son, had we had more time with him.
I thought of all the people at church, who had known and loved our son. What a comfort it was to go to church and know we could talk about Jeff if we wanted to, or keep silent. What a blessing they had been to our family, rallying around us, wrapping us in their loving arms and lifting us up in prayer.
And I thought of how right from the moment we heard the news on that dark December night, I had felt as if God had wrapped His loving arms around me and underneath me, shielding me and cushioning me from the worst of the pain.
Time will never erase the pain nor fill the hole in my heart. I am still the mother of three daughters and FOUR sons. We will always miss Jeff. But as I count my many blessings in the midst of the pain and sorrow, I know that my God truly is the God of All Comfort, and I am truly blessed.
"Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart." ~Psalm 119:2 (KJV)
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