"Now there was a day ... and Satan also came among them" (Job 1:6 NKJ); "... The day of grief and desperate sorrow ... Then behold, at eventide, trouble!" (Is.17:11c,14 NKJ).
It's no comfort that every person's day finally comes. I felt that my
day--my dark night of the soul--came that dusky December evening when our
oldest son Chuck came home from college, supposedly to enjoy the Christmas holidays, and
instead killed himself. He had called from college the night before and seemed
happy. The option to die had already been made but he didn't tell us. He simply
came home, went to the woods and hours later, in the dark, we heard him scream
and then shoot himself to death.
That year I lost three basic relationships within months, and I concluded
the evening that Chuck determined to give up his most precious gift of life
that God had prepared me for his death through the two previous losses. Lest
this sound ghastly and ghoulish, the other two deaths were of older people with
heart problems. But they were enormously dear to me and their instant deaths sent me to the Book of Job. In that respect I felt that God had plowed my
soul for the planting of thoughts that would help me through the worst of the
three deaths, that of my son.
Two years previous to this BC/AD (Before Chuck/After Death) event in our
lives, a teacher who was my spiritual mentor and mother had sent me a book
titled Power In Praise, by Merlin Carothers. I read the book and was very
impressed with it. I began praising God for large and small blessings and even for what I thought were non-blessings, though at times I wondered about it. But
it was that momentous night two years later that I applied the principle,
"NOW--this moment--praise and thank [God] for your present circumstances..." I knew
that if I didn't do it then, there was a good possibility I might never do it
May God help us all to utter sincere thanks in the midst of
circumstances that would belie the very thought. I do believe that this is when the balm is applied and God blesses the awful circumstance so we can bring good from the evil. Several months after Chuck's death, with strength and grace from God, I wrote a booklet Grief which eventually helped others in their awful times. It is now available on Internet.
Patricia Erwin Nordman