I asked the Lord what He wanted me to blog about, and His response was “when tragedy strikes.”
Well, that’s encouraging…what a lovely idea.
So here we go…..
I can personally attest to the fact that there is a difference between losing a loved one who is sick and dying and losing one without any warning.
Within the last six years, I said goodbye to my dad and my mom.
I was with them when they took their last breath and graduated to glory.
That was hard, but in each case I had the chance to prepare emotionally and brace for impact.
Losing their presence hurt, but I was able to set my mind on appreciating them and thanking the Lord for each day I had them with me.
In each case, healing from the grief progressed quickly.
That was not the case with my very first encounter with losing a family member.
It was November 11, 1975 around 8:30 at night when my mom can running in the house to call 911.
I asked her what was wrong, and in hysterics she said, “It’s your brother.”
I was dropped off at my cousin’s house who lived three houses down the street while my parents rushed to the hospital behind the ambulance.
I had no real idea what was going on.
My brother, Billy, (age 21)who was 11 years older than me was working part time for my Dad and the local township road department.
In that day, the township kept all the heavy equipment at our farm.
Billy’s job was to spray paint the undercarriage of a dump truck, so the bed of the truck was in the dump position.
Before leaving for a doctor’s appointment, my Dad told him repeatedly not to crawl under the upright bed to paint because it wasn’t braced.
Billy chose not to heed my Dad’s warning.
He hopped up onto the undercarriage to reach a spot; the hose from the paint sprayer tripped the lever, and the bed of the dump truck lowered and crushed him killing him instantly.
My parents’ worst nightmare had come true.
As a 10 year old, I had no idea how to process this.
I am thankful that even then I knew the Lord and I took comfort in the knowledge that I would see Billy again.
His death was a tragedy.
It felt different.
He died too soon and there was no bracing for impact.
The enemy took full advantage and sold me on lies.
He spoke through my mom, “God doesn’t always protect against bad judgment.”
My brother chose to rebel against my Dad, and it cost him that day.
I also believed the lie that it was my fault that he died.
Because I had sin in my life and wasn’t performing perfectly, God took my brother and guess what….my parents were next.
I lived my teenage years living in fear that God would take my parents like he did Billy because of sin in my life.
I had been taught that if you perform perfectly, God will reward you with good things.
If you sin, bad stuff was going to happen to punish you until you got your act together.
This one tragedy paired with warped, legalistic teaching messed up my view of God, self and others.
Thankfully, I am free from all of that.
But beloved, God is good all the time…. even when tragedy strikes.
If you get hit with loss unexpectedly, press into Jesus all the more.
Guard your heart and take your thoughts captive.
I guarantee you that Satan will accuse God and you of wrongdoing.
He’s a liar.
Purpose to appreciate your loved ones every day.
No one is promised tomorrow.
Love in the now, so that no matter what tomorrow holds you will know that God is with you; He is for you and He loves you.