I recalled the text that had come last Thursday, “Did you hear the bad news? He was killed.”
Surely everyone who received the terrible news that night thought instantly of another day, another tragedy even more horrific. Over four years ago on a Sunday night in June, three teens had been killed in one fell swoop, two of them siblings, a brother and a sister. And the third, the son of the man who’d just as suddenly been swept away. We’d known them all, those three, through church connections.
How could I forget that grave site, the burial of the two? How the youth stepped forward with shovels and roses. How the younger brother, a Downs Syndrome child, had come forward after they were finished, adding his bit of soil. How the mother had groaned low, “My babies,” there as the summer sun beat down.
Now, in the same church that had seen the third teen’s service, whose walls had held the suffering, down whose aisles had walked sorrow – there, today, the father’s service was about to begin. Ah, Father. How much can one family bear?
It was on Friday last as I lay in bed, waking up slow, that my thoughts turned to the widow and the awful reality to which she was awakening. I thought how she would give everything,everything she owned, if she could turn back the clock a mere 24 hours. Before her world changed. Before she saw him out the door. Before she put supper on the table and waited for a husband who would not return. Before the power went out and she, going down the road less than a mile, asked, “Was it…?” and received the dreadful reply, “Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry, but it was.”
The reunion that took place that night just beyond the clouds was sweet beyond telling, father and son reunited at last in joy eternal. Surely the angels danced and sang. Surely Heaven rang with the noise. Surely the Lord Christ Himself, Saviour of them both, shouted in triumph for death, after all, has been defeated.
Meanwhile, for those who remain, we cling to hope. We know that this life down here is not all there is.
We cling, too, to faith, believing ever more in the promises of a God who said He will never leave, will never forsake, and will never fail. Who promised that one day, He will wipe all tears from our eyes, and that joy, always and forever, would come in the morning.
Praying peace, comfort, strength, and hope strong and true for Doris, Kelly and Spenser Yoder and their extended families. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!