Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: INDEFATIGABLE (02/11/16)
TITLE: A Process of Grief
By Elaine Hemingway
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“You can’t prove to me that God exists,” exclaimed Marla in exasperation, looking at me with tear-filled eyes.
“And if He did, He’s not the gentle, loving God that I thought He was. Or am I thinking of gentle Jesus, meek and mild? No, I read somewhere that God thinks all my righteous acts are like filthy rags, so I don’t want Him anyway.”
She flung herself down on the sofa, from which she had sprung a few moments earlier, interrupting my attempt to explain God’s desire for her life.
“As I’ve told you before, dear, whatever proof I can offer is spiritually discerned by believing what the Bible says about Him overall. We shouldn’t be arguing about Him anyway, as clearly, no-one can prove He doesn’t exist.”
“I can,” came her angry reply.
“If He exists, and if He cared, He wouldn’t have robbed me of Dale and the children. We taught them from the get go to commit their lives to Him. We took them to church, we had them baptised, they went to Sunday school, and what did that help? Nothing! They are all gone, so what does that tell you?”
“Well, darling, that’s not proving He doesn’t exist. It’s proving that He doesn’t do things you think He should, but let’s not fight now; there is so much to look forward to.
As a missionary on furlough, I had only met Marla after the accident that had claimed the lives of her husband and ten year old twins. My cousin, who was driving his wife and me on an outing, had also been killed when a black BMW had overtaken the car in which Marla and her family were returning from holiday, and on a blind rise had nowhere to go to avoid us. That driver had also lost his life prematurely. So it had been we three women who survived. We had all received injuries, but Marla’s had been the worst, and it had fallen to me to try to help spiritually. The physical trauma had been easier to overcome than the lack of faith exhibited by Marla as she had regained consciousness, to be confronted by the devastating realisation of her loss.
“Think of Gareth, who will be arriving soon. Now there is a son to be proud of and he and Chelsea are so looking forward to being here.”
If I had hoped that would pacify her, I was mistaken.
“Hmph! Why did he go to Australia in the first place? He should have been here, with the twins and sharing in their lives. “
“Marla, dear, you have said yourself what a beautiful daughter-in-law he has given you. Why don’t we set off now to meet them, and we can enjoy a coffee while we wait for their flight to land?”
The journey to the airport gave opportunity for us to discuss some of the things Marla had been investigating. It was hard not to preach, for she has been indefatigable in her desire to disclaim all she had previously known about her Saviour. She has reminded me often of the old cliché, ‘There are none as blind as those who don’t want to see.’
It is given to man once to die, is not enough for someone who is discounting the Bible and looking to reincarnation, or a medium, and reading books on New Age philosophies, all adding to her confusion.
It was a relief to reach the airport and to find the gate for the Qantas flight bringing Gareth and his young wife into the fray. Six months ago they had organised a mercy flight to attend the memorial service of Gareth’s father and siblings, arranging to return when they realised, through my correspondence, the extent of Marla’s desperation. The grief progress was taking a devastating toll on Marla’s mind. My hopes that they would be able to help her get past the testing stage – seeking resolutions other than the false paths she had been following, were quickly realised.
“Mom, we have great news,” were Gareth’s first words after the initial greetings.
“You were right not to come with us when we asked before, but now we really want to invite you.”
I think I guessed what was coming but Marla’s face was a picture.
“We’re having a baby Mum! Please come and help us.”
“Praise God!” she exclaimed. Then she looked confused. Then she smiled.
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