I’ve gone through many life changing events in my 50+ years on earth. None worse of course, than losing my first spouse. And, yet, I’ve seen God use my ordeal to minister to countless others who were going through the same thing. And like them, I ran through a million emotions: “Why me?”, the pitiful sorry for myself; getting angry with God; withdrawing from society; slowly having a nervous breakdown; and utter depression. You wonder if you’ll ever stand up again. And one day you just do. You may not realize how, but it was God walking and holding your hand silently cheering you on.
The Lord uses the bad circumstances of life to turn them into something positive that we can hold onto…something that helps life make sense…something that we can have hope in so we don’t give up. When I decided, and I had to choose, to get up and live again… God was able to heal my pain enough to help another person through theirs. Every problem in our lives comes with the ability to make good out of it. We are given the chance everyday to make a dent in another person for the better. It’s up to us. And sometimes life doesn’t make sense at all, yet I still search for meaning to everything I encounter. Let’s face it, if there were no reasons for anything, life would itself be meaningless.
We were meant for something great, we weren’t just put down here on earth to take up space. There was a divine purpose and plan for every life born. We make the choices we do and sometimes we get great artists, intellectual inventors, scholars, historians, people who go onto great things. And, then we get senseless ends to a person’s life and people who never quite live up to their potential. Sometimes an event can change a person forever and they never find a way to conquer and live past it. Their tragedy remains their tragedy. Our choice is clear. Why remain a victim? Why live in a sea of waste? Why watch yourself go down and down and hurt the people around you who are trying to wake you up? Get up and let God turn that bad encounter, that bad doctor’s report, that wayward child of yours, that parent that won’t quit drinking, the loved one who’s gone from this earth…into fuel that you can lock arms with someone else hurting like you once were. You can speak life into that person by letting them see how God has strengthened you. The opportunity to help another person is something for where this is no price tag.
We all want to feel useful. How useful are we when we let tragedy sink us lower each day? I’m not saying that we should not grieve. But there’s a time for that and then there’s a time to lift up our head and look forward. David’s subjects questioned him after he quit grieving over his lost son born to him and Bathsheba. He had mourned and prayed and when the boy died, he quit mourning. His subjects wanted to know why. Here’s what David said and it’s so good:
“(2 Samuel 12:21-23 ESV): Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” Notice David’s words…”Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” David was hopeful even though his son had died. He knew he would reconcile with him in Heaven one day, but there was no sense in mourning for something that he could not change. Now, the Bible doesn’t give an account anymore about this, but we as humans can use our imagination and believe David had some bad nights until he fully accepted what had happened.
We’re never quite the same after a tragedy, but we can grow stronger from it. We can use it to propel us to higher ground. It took me a long time to stop grieving. At one point, I was inconsolable. I couldn’t keep my food down. I couldn’t sleep for six months and then I couldn’t stay awake for six more months. But, after time passed it was time to get up. God had not finished what He called me to do on earth and I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. I had to grow up!
I find now whenever I get to share my story of my first husband, Shron (pronounced Sh’ron), I do it not with tears anymore but with joy and laughter. I have memories of him that no one can take away. I have his sense of humor that goes with me everywhere. There’s a place in my heart always just for him and one day I will see him again in Heaven. In the meantime, I have a life here on earth with my new hubby and I want to be all I can be to him. I want to do the things God wants me to do and if He places me with someone at a given moment who has lost their spouse and needs to talk to someone who truly understands how they feel, then it was worth me going through what I went through if at the end they walk away with renewed hope and vigor in their step. It’s not easy going through trials, but trials are how God works some of the biggest miracles in life.