Funerals are never easy, but that’s especially true when it’s a young person who has passed away. While my son was in Iraq, a buddy of his was killed in a car accident. I knew Jimmy would have wanted to attend, so I decided to go in his stead.
I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. The moment I caught sight of that grieving mother, her pain became mine. The imagined scenarios engulfed my mind. What if I had to plan my son’s funeral? Suddenly, the danger of where he was and what could happen engulfed me.
As I spiraled deeper into that place of what if, the service continued. I refused to let myself leave until the service was over, but every second I stayed I fought to keep the panic at bay. As soon as I could slip away, I fled to the safety of my home and locked myself in my bedroom and cried.
As I sobbed, I poured out my heart to God, begging him to keep my son safe. I knew God loved him even more than I did—at least my head knew that—but my heart was unconvinced. Lying there, I quoted this verse in Mark over and over, trying to regain a measure of peace: Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! Finally, when I couldn’t cry anymore, the truth of this verse began to steal over me.
I was divided, overwhelmed with doubt and fear. I tackled my doubt first. Could God keep my son safe? In my mind, I took an inventory of everything I knew about God. Peace began to settle over me as certainty took hold. God could keep Jimmy safe. Now the deeper question. Would God keep him safe?
That one I couldn’t answer. There were no concrete assurances. Just like the boy’s father in the Bible, I had to accept it on faith and believe that no matter what happened during deployment, God could be trusted. That was the day I accepted God loves each of us more than any human can. He can be trusted with the lives of those who mean the most to each of us.
This Memorial Day, honor those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our country by remembering to pray for the families they’ve left behind.
(Photo courtesy of microsoft office.)
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