287 weeks ago we lost our precious daughter. She is now resting, waiting her reward, when the Lord will call her forth from that dusty bed. Time cannot efface that which has separated us these 2000 + days since we last beheld her, we last talked with her. Her memory is locked in our consciousness.
This past Friday, June 19th, marks 287 weeks from that fateful day. As we look back--pain, suffering and grief, we still experience 66 months later. Though the Lord has given us the grace to live without the emotional breakdowns so frequent the first couple years, yet that void, that emptiness is still present and with it the grief. As we look forward—more suffering and trial we can expect. But we are ever grateful our daughter will not have to experience the horrors of the last days, what is coming.
Why so much pain in this life? Why so much turmoil? Well, its because of sin and its author. God permits trials to come to us, not as a curse, but as the greatest blessings of our lives. He weighs His people, for He is interested in developing character—which only can occur through painful trial, as expressed by the apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:7). All must go through it if they expect to inherit eternal life one day.
To make the change from wrong sinful habits, to holy living is not easy. Let’s be honest, it is hard, trying and painful. And sometimes, we just “kick against the pricks” as the apostle Paul experienced. But the Lord is longsuffering with us and gives us time to correct our errors. Even so, the day of reckoning is hastening on a pace. Our window is narrowing for the development of right habits that glorify God.
The loss of a child in their developing years is truly the greatest loss and pain a parent can experience in this life. It goes deep to the very core of the individual. But we are exhorted to “press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Over the last six months another “fiery trial” hit us. After almost losing my wife on the couch, due to lack of blood in her body, back in December 2019, it was discovered after being transferred out of ER to ICU with six units of blood and platelets now back into her body and no pain, that the CT-Scan revealed five ulcers and a mass pressing against the head of the pancreas. That mass turned out to be a tumor the size of a small tangerine. The big “C” word eventually emerged as an endocrine gastrinoma—a slow growing lazy tumor, as the oncologist later labeled it. Its beginning may have traced back to the time we lost Brianna, a major stress event and the harrowing escape and aftermath of the “Campfire” of 2018.
The apostle Paul clearly states in Acts 17 that none of us get into the Kingdom without much tribulation. Much suffering. Is it worth it? Romans 8:18 states “The sufferings of this present time is not worth comparing with the glory that shall be revealed in and to us.”
If the Son of the Father was willing to suffer for us sinners and not complain, what is our excuse? His suffering and grief was far greater than ours. His was from the sense of separation from His Father, bearing our guilt and shame. Ours, many times, is due to compromising with sin. But even if not directly tied to a wrong course of action, we live in a world of sin held captive by the evil one. We are in a war and thus casualties will happen on both sides.
Nine months after we lost Brianna, we lost the head of a ministry I was associated with--another sudden blow. (2015 was a very tough year.) A few weeks before his death, we received a letter from him accepting our invitation to speak at our benefit concert the following Spring. In that letter, which conveys some deep and profound concepts re. Brianna’s early exit out of this life, impacted Mary and I which no letter ever has regarding our loss. If any would like to read about it, you can do so here: Completion of Brianna’s Life. Now five and half years later, I once again am going through a painful experience in the separation with that ministry I began with six weeks before we lost Brianna. It has been a very difficult 2020.
The present crises we are all impacted by in our world in this day only indicates that a terrible ordeal is soon to break upon our world—The prophetic Word refers to it as the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” (Daniel 12:1). It thus behooves all to prepare for that final period of earth’s history, unlike any the world has ever seen. Only those who heed the Saviour’s warning to “watch and pray” and act accordingly will be shielded from the powerful delusions of Satan that are coming upon the world in this last generation. The word of God is our only safeguard. Under the “Shadow of His wings” will be our only safety.
We long for that Day when the separation of the sheep and goats, the tares and wheat will be final and permanent. We long to be reunited with our precious Brianna. We know others also long for that Reunion Day. We are closer now than ever. It is our hope and prayer that you too will come into that Ark of Safety and remain there until the eastern sky breaks with gleams of the Golden Morning.