"You shall not fear the terror of night..." (Psalm 91:5a NIV).
His scream on that black December night severed my heart into bleeding halves that wept red agony. The blood-curdling scream and the gunshot dissolved into death, a finality that seemed impossible, unbelievable.
Chuck was our oldest son. Psalm 55:4 says, "My heart is in anguish within me..." Chuck told me about his anguish three weeks before and then he did something about it. He was full of promise, in his third year of college, only 19, and handsome and brilliant.
Fortunately I already knew a loving God, a Father who watched His precious Son die (O! how that seeped into my crushed heart right after I heard my son die!). It was only at that moment that I finally and fully understood our Father's total love for us all. The Father had made the greatest sacrifice that we might love and live and look forward.
I knew that God is sufficient; that if we only believe, then He can bring us through even the darkest night of our soul. Surely this would be the darkest night of my soul! When I was very young, a blessed teacher told me many times that "Disappointment is His appointment." God's appointment for me was that night.
"Sacrifice thank offerings to God ... and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me" (Psalm 50:14,15 NIV). Grief teaches so many valuable lessons. My first exercise was learning to say "Thank You, Father." How difficult, especially in the midst of such searing sorrow! To give thanks in such circumstances is indeed a sacrifice, for it is so easy to ask, "What have I to be thankful for in such a terrible loss?" The balm is applied while we say it; feeling has nothing to do with it at the time.
The second exercise was absolute trust that God would heal the gaping and gasping depression in heart and mind. I equated it with physical surgery: healing finally happens. There are scars, but the intense pain finally diminishes. I realized that the lessening of the psychical pain would take longer than the cure of physical pain, but the equation helped me so much.
Prayer: Thank You, thank You, Father! Thank You for delivering us and giving us strength to honor You in the valley of the shadow of our son's death. Thank You!
Patricia Erwin Nordman, Sing a New Song