I kissed him on the cheek and said, “We’ll see you at home.” He looked so handsome in his Marine uniform. I thought my heart would burst with pride as I gazed at this warm-hearted, confident son of mine. He’d been through a lot over in Afghanistan but we prayed him through and God had brought him home. When we got that first phone call saying that he was on American soil I didn’t realize until that moment that I had been holding my breath for ten long months and could finally for the first time take a deep breath and relax – he was safe!
We had been vacationing at a little cottage on a lake with just our family. Ned, our Marine, had some leave coming and chose to spend it with us. We laughed and played the whole week long.
But now Ned had to get back to make preparations for his next assignment. I watched as he removed his hat before stepping into his vehicle. “Could I be more proud than I am right now,” I wondered? We waved goodbye as he pulled away. I watched as he stopped just before he turned the corner to stretch his arm out the window with one last goodbye.
It took me a few minutes to realize that someone was banging on our front door. I reached for my husband but he was already moving across the room. My heart was in my throat and a knot began to form in the pit of my stomach. Why would someone be knocking on our door at this time of the night? I sat on the edge of the bed unable to move. I could hear muffled voices and the tone didn’t sound good. I looked up to see my husband, tears running down his face, whisper, “Its Ned.”
I fell to the floor as a gut wrenching scream exploded from my throat. I knew in deep down in my soul that he was gone. But how could this be? God had brought him home safely from Afghanistan, only for us to lose him here? It didn’t make sense! What kind of God would allow something like this to happen? What cosmic force would dream up such a cruel joke?
I felt my heart begin to crack into a thousand pieces as the pain imploded within my soul. I gasped for air, would I ever be able to breathe? I crawled into the fetal position and planned never to move again. I wondered if I was God’s “guinea pig”. Was God like a wacky scientist experimenting on his creation at his whim? Did He do all this just to see how I would respond to Him? How could he profess His love for me and allow this to happen to my son?
Day after day, the pain became more profound and my anger towards God surged out of control. I felt that God had not just stabbed my heart with a knife but every day He pushed it in a little deeper, a little farther. What would happen to my faith? Would I ever come to a place where I could trust God again?
Even as I raged at God, I sensed His tender loving presence. One morning as I lay in bed, dreading the start of another day, wondering if I would be able to get up, I glimpsed my Bible on the shelf. I had put it there after Ned’s death and hadn’t picked it up since. But something in my soul that day propelled me to pick it up.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his ONE and ONLY Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10 NLV)
As I read those verses, for the first time I KNEW what pain God the Father went through to send His Son to die for me!
I knew in my heart of hearts that I would never have chosen to give up my son for someone else but God did.
There in my bedroom, I sank to my knees in humble adoration as I began to grasp the immensity of what God had done for me and I surrendered my fear, my anger, my pain and finally my son to Him.
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