Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
TITLE: That Tragic Day in December
By Julia May
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The email notification popped up on my desktop that afternoon at work. It was from Jamie, a friend and sister in Christ. It read: URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!!!!
Our church family is very close and everybody pretty much knows everybody else. We’re a fairly small congregation that averages 300 or so on Sunday mornings. Our ladies bible study member’s often email each other with prayer requests, devotionals and inspiring stories. I immediately opened the email and as I read, my heart literally skipped a beat.
It read: “Brandon has been in a terrible accident! Don’t know all the details but Tony and Gina are on their way to the hospital. The emergency room told them they must get there right away. Please stop and say a prayer that he will be ok. I will let you know if I hear anything else. Love, Jamie”
I bowed my head and prayed; “God, let him be ok, please be with him, heal him from whatever injuries he might have. In Jesus’ precious and holy name, I pray. Amen.” I didn’t even realize I had prayed aloud until my neighbor in the next cubicle came over to ask if I was ok.
Brandon was a beautiful little brown-eyed boy in our A.W.A.N.A. 4 and 5 year old class where I was one of the leaders. He was our star “Cubbie” and everybody loved him. It was less than a week away from his birthday. He would be 6 years old. Later that evening the call came that Brandon didn’t make it. He had been riding on the back of a four-wheeler that lost control and flipped. It landed on him and crushed his little skull. God called him home. I was numb when I heard the news.
The days to come were a blur. We were all so heartsick. We didn’t understand why God had to take this precious little boy…...When the day of the memorial service came, the church was so packed we couldn’t all fit. Some had to go into the Fellowship Hall and watch the service from a TV monitor. It was the saddest day ever. I pray I never have to attend another child‘s funeral. Gina and Tony and the two older children came in last. People reached up and hugged them and held out their hands as they passed down the aisle, hoping to give them any comfort they could.
Our Pastor officiated in a beautiful memorial service. Through his own tears he recited Brandon’s favorite bible verse: Joshua 1:9 (KJV) “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Tissues were passed out by the ushers. People were openly sobbing, as was I. As the service drew to a close, we all went down to offer condolences to the family. As I wrapped my arms around my dear friend and beloved sister, I was so distraught I couldn’t speak. I finally got out “I’m so sorry." Gina did the most amazing thing: she held and comforted me while I sobbed over the death of her little boy! She spoke ever so softly; “Brandon loved your class, thank you.” As I looked into her eyes, I saw Jesus shining through. She was a beautiful expression of love and light. There was peace in her eyes and on her face like I had never seen before. That day I witnessed the most powerful evidence of inner strength. I will never forget it. I saw our Lord in Gina that day. He gave her His peace. She is His child and He took care of her in the most trying time of her life. I praise God for the mercy he bestows on His children when we need it most.
It has been several months now since we lost Brandon and each day gets a little easier. Gina still attends the Ladies Bible Study faithfully every Saturday morning. She and Tony stay busy as our Missionary Directors now. They have their bad days but overall, this couple has stayed strong in the Lord and He has sustained them. He gives them the inner strength they need to keep going and serving Him.
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