Monday, July 20, 2009


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
time to be born, and a time to die; (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

Her husband died last month of cancer. The family knew death was approaching, but how would they cope? A wife, son 18, daughter 8 – how do they continue?

Not as expected.

The call came during morning worship services yesterday. It was muted, with office doors closed, but so unexpected since everyone knew the service schedule. During the invitation the pastor was handed a note, and he made the announcement before the closing prayer.

The call was a plea from this same family, who spent their Saturday, and night, at the hospital with the son breathing only on life support. The call was for the pastor to come, be with them while they faced the decision of turning off that support. According to the doctors, that was only a matter of timing, not of whether.

I know the daughter from our Wednesday night children’s program. Along with more than fourscore other children, I’ve checked her attendance, given her refreshments, and hugged her time and again along the way. Since yesterday, I spend time praying for her and her mother.

It is they, not I, who must find their own comfort in the future. And, there are circumstances that will make that journey difficult. The path of grief is lonely, no matter how many people wish to walk together.

How best to help? I think Paul sets us on the right path:

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5)

It is my responsibility as a Christian to be certain I minister to this family in faith, biblically. According to James:

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

James also tells us not to waver in this:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (James 1:5-6)

Let us not waver.

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