“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…” 2 Corinthians 7:6a
I don’t share many personal stories on the blog, but in light of recent events, I felt it necessary. This past Saturday morning, I was standing in line at my Starbucks to order my coffee before I started my shift. It was a busy morning with many people in line before me, so as I waited, I caught up on all my social media. As I scrolled through Facebook, a new message alert popped up, so I clicked on it eager to read. After reading only the first line, however, my heart began to sink:
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this way, but…”
News that begins like that is never good news. As I finished the message from my cousin Michael, my initial fears were confirmed. It wasn’t good news. It was devastating news. My cousin, Brian (Michael’s younger brother), passed away in his sleep the night before. I stood there in that line utterly shocked.
How could this be? Why did this happen?
These questions and more raced through my mind, and there were no answers, none that satisfied. I quickly contacted my mom, brother, and sister seeking details, anything that could help explain this sudden tragedy. His mother, my aunt, came to wake him up on Saturday morning, but he didn’t wake.
What do you do with that kind of sorrow? That kind of grief? I don’t know the joy of having a child of my own yet, but based on what I have heard, there are few loves on this side of heaven that can compare. Likewise, I can only imagine that there are few sorrows that outweigh the grief of burying your own child. It’s just not supposed to happen like that. From the moment the news reached me of my cousin Brian’s passing, I haven’t stopped praying – praying for my Aunt and Uncle who have lost their son, praying for my cousin who has lost his brother, praying for my grandparents who have lost their grandchild, and the prayers never end. As I’ve prayed, the Lord has met with me in His Word again and again. As I’ve struggled through understanding, He has offered a peace that surpasses understanding. God comforts the downcast. He draws near to the brokenhearted and saves those whose spirits have been crushed by unimaginable pain (Psalm 34:18), and He is able to turn our ashes into beauty (Isaiah 61:1-3). This is our God – a God who is present in brokenness, a God who is able to heal. This is our God.
I would ask each of you to join me in prayer for my family as we grieve the loss of one that we loved. Would you be so bold to petition the Lord for beauty to come from these ashes? For healing to flood each of our hearts? For His constant presence to be our present reality? Pray for my Aunt and Uncle. Pray for my cousin. Pray for my family that we would fully know God’s comfort in this difficult time. And pray that we all would believe in the God who comforts the downcast.
Lorraine M. Hadley says
Dear Cherrie, Thank you, dear for putting into words the sadness and loss that we all feel. Your tribute to Brian, and the entire family, captures what we are all are feeling but we can’t describe it as beautifully as you did. My prayers also have been for Brian’s entire family and I feel a wonderful closeness with our entire family. Love and Prayers, Aunt Lorraine