TONY LEFT US! GOD SENT US HIS OWN BELOVED ONES!
July 21, 1998.
It was on a Sunday at 3 pm, Missouri summertime. The phone in our home rang. My daughter Magda picked it up and listened to what the speaker had to say. The normally sweet expression on her face suddenly faded. She groaned with great disbelief. With the cordless phone in her hand, she rushed to the room at the end of the corridor.
The caller was Edna, our retired sister in Christ from UK, whom we have known for many years. The call was concerning our son Tony. He was then living in her home as a paying guest while he worked in Exeter College in the south of Devon.
I recall what we overheard of that telephone message. It still rings in my memory.
“Hello? Yes Edna? PLEASE REPEAT WHAT YOU SAID TO ME!”
“It is about dear Tony” Edna broke the sad news for the second time!
“Yes?” cried Magda
“This morning he had a severe heart attack”
“WHAT?? ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
“What happened? When did Tony get the heart attack? —But WHY and HOW did this happen?”
Edna was resuming her heartbreaking report across the miles..
“I TELL YOU THAT DEAR TONY HAD A SUDDEN HEART ATTACK!
For four hours doctors tried to revive him! But he did not survive. He’s gone!”
We were utterly shocked! Fully aware of the situation imparted through the lines, we all panicked. Very much in denial, we expected a quick explanation from our daughter’s flowing tears, as she faced us, pale as a lemon. We waited for an explanation…Five of the longest minutes sped by.
Indeed, we got the much hated explanation which wrote the strangest event in the history of our family. That day witnessed the greatest shock of our life during the first three years after we settled in the U.S.A.!
The presence of the Lord was the only acceptable issue in the midst of that great sorrow and unequalled distress. I placed my hands over my ears. Facing my family, I remember shouting, “PLEASE! DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MY GOD!”
The truth strongly hit us in the face. We were at that moment destined to be deprived of the presence of our first-born son, till we meet in eternity. What were we to do? Where were we to turn? All of a sudden, all our thinking, plus every schedule in our life, stopped!
Yes! Praise God! We were aware we did have the Lord. Yes we were more than fully aware of His Mighty, Powerful Presence!
Yet, as normal people and as human beings, we deeply longed for human consolation and human comfort. We were so confused as to the steps we needed to take at that instant, as new American residents regarding our son’s case….We needed helpful advice and decisions suggested to us by loving folks.
On my knees….I transferred those heartfelt demands to my heavenly Dad in concerned supplications. I repeated the KJV 23rd Psalm, verse 6,
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
So I prayed, “Dear Lord, even now, only You can show us Your promise in action. O Lord, we are SO DESPPERATE AND ALONE!!!”
God’s Holy Spirit replied through my heart, “My child, Be encouraged, and take heart! This day, I will send you help! I shall charge MY loved ones. They are also your friends, your brothers, your sisters whom you have met here …in your church, in your Christian walk with my Own Beloved Son.”
That same day, while the throne of grace received my prayers, the heavens were opened…I recall that the Lord led my husband to call Pastor Billy Burris, our church Minister, and share our situation with him.
Friends, I leave you to see in your mind's eye, the love of our God which was poured thousands of years ago, at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
That same love crowned the hearts of tens of loving persons. They swarmed to our home with open arms and embraces. Their tears in that moment went to feed our deprivation, heartache, loss and helplessness.
I GIVE ALL THE GLORY TO GOD!!
For months that followed, the family of God helped wipe our tears. Loving, people like us, (in the arms of the Father) have blessed and helped restore our great joy…so as to keep our true faith and willingly chant:
“This is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it” Ps. 118:24
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