More than three years ago now, I received a text from one of my dear friends, Susan. "Pray for Anna-Claire--she is critically ill and they are fighting to save her." Anna-Claire was my precious friend, Stephanie's twenty-one year old daughter. My immediate reaction was shock--and denial that this would not have a positive outcome--after all she was in the bloom of youth---still in college. People that age do not have heart attacks and die! Pray---pray---pray----and then I find myself pulled to the hospital where I sat with out large group of runners and continued to pray.
After what seemed like an eternity--but probably was only a few hours, the waiting room full of friends and family receive the news that Anna-Claire has gone to be with Jesus. NO! This cannot be---we all sat in stunned silence--shaken to our very core. In the blink of an eye---life was drastically altered-forever changed! Our group has done a lot of living together---weathered all kinds of storms--the gentle breezes of great happiness and the tsunami's of great heartbreak--but none of us had lost a child-the worst of the worst.
We sat and waited--hoping to wrap our friend and her sweet husband, Tommy in our arms of comfort, but Steph had other things on her mind. Her daughter Jessica was in Houston, and knew Anna-Claire had suddenly become ill, but did not know the worst. Stephanie was determined she was the one who must deliver this word--and be there to wrap her arms around the grief stricken sister. Without thought for her own devastation, with no time to sink into the pit of despair, she denied herself the comfort of all those who loved her and instead flew to her daughter's side to be the messenger. Where did she find the strength physically as well as emotionally to complete this task? With no regard for her own all consuming devastation--she concentrated on her daughter and the way this news needed to be delivered. Her first thought was not of herself, but how to comfort and console her sweet daughter in this moment of profound loss. A picture of selfless love I shall never forget.
And what good purpose could this tragedy possibly have served? How could God turn this moment of unthinkable horror into anything beautiful? Perhaps in many ways, but one stands out boldly. My friend taught us all a lesson in love that day. She showed us how to put others first in the midst of our greatest personal tragedy. She looked beyond her own shock and horror and thought of those also affected by this terrible loss. Her concern for her husband and her daughter took precedence over her own suffering.
Heaven gained a special angel that day---and though life was forever altered--it has moved on. And my dear friend taught me a great lesson in putting others first with selfless love.
Just as Steph thought of Tommy and Jessica first, so does our Father think of us first. He draws us into His arms of great care--He holds us when we have not the strength to move forward, and He counts our tears as they fall. He is hurt when we are hurt--and He responds with His great love. Surely if we as mortals are able to rise above self and think of our loved ones, He does so much more than the human mind can comprehend. One of the comments on the original post says it best -
"Everything changes in one . split . second. And life is never the same.
And He gives grace that you never knew you needed. And He doesn't leave your side when the bad and scary news comes again and again.
He remains the same, Wonderful Comforter. Where would we be without Jesus?" Linda Stoll
Indeed, where would we be without Jesus!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” ~ Galatians 6:22,23