Today is September 13, 2014. This is the day our dear friends, Dale and Lynelle, are celebrating the life of their oldest son, Dale Jr, 24. After 5 precious daughters, they finally had a son!
Friends teased and said they wouldn’t know how to raise a son after having girls. Friends also said Dale Jr. didn’t stand a chance with 5 older sisters to boss him around. What joy he brought to his precious family!
Since learning of his death a few days ago I’ve thought a lot about life and death, especially the death of a child. How do parents go on when a child leaves this earth too soon? How do you comfort the siblings and other loved ones when grieving yourself?
Thankfully the Hill family are believers…strong in faith. They have hope in the midst of their grief. However their pain is fresh and deep.
Larry and Shelle Cooke, mutual friends of ours and the Hills, have a ministry called “In The Word Ministries”. We get a quarterly devotional from the Cooke’s, and the last few days have been titled “Recognizing and Walking in God’s Will”. Here are some of the things that have stood out to me while praying for our friends.
- “There is no room for two wills. If you want God’s will, you must be prepared to surrender your own will.” Just three short weeks before Dale Jr’s death in a shooting accident, the Hill’s pastor preached a sermon called “Do You Really Trust Me?” Lynelle said it was profound, and she knew God was specifically asking her if she would trust Him, no matter what.
- “Choose a spiritual mindset”. How difficult this must be. However, whenever I’ve spoken with Lynelle over the last few days, it is obvious that she is choosing to trust God through this difficult time. There are tears, plenty of tears, but she has chosen to place her trust in the Only One Who is Trustworthy.
- “The Holy Spirit’s role is vital; He alone knows God’s mind.” Jesus told his disciples that when he left this world another would come, the Comforter. Oh, how my friends must lean on the One whose name is Comforter. Only He can bring peace and healing to their hurting hearts.
- “Trust the steps you’ve taken and move forward; otherwise you’ll get stuck in a cycle of second guessing…All the faith in the world will fail you if you stop short of doing something.”
What is that “something” the Hill family and each of us must do when faced with life shattering situations? How do we go forward when our entire life is turned upside down?
There is only one place to go…directly to the Throne of God. For some of us that may be getting alone with our bibles. For others it could be listening to encouraging praise music. It could even mean crawling in our beds and crying our eyes out; knowing that we are not alone, but that our Father is there in the midst of our pain. I’ve done all three this week.
However we grieve our losses, we can know that the Comforter never leaves us or forsakes us. We may not know the “why” of our situation; however we can know the “Who”, who is our only hope in our time of trouble.
As I’ve cried out to God for my friends this week, these verses from Psalm 62 have comforted me:
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress. I will never be shaken.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress. I will not be shaken.
He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard; that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.
Father, I thank you that the Hill family does not grieve as those who do not have hope. I thank you that you, yourself, are their strength and comfort. Continue to guide them as they walk this difficult walk set before them. Thank you for Dale Jr’s life and the blessing he has been to his family and friends. May you be glorified through his death, as you have been through many things in his life. It’s only because of You that we have hope. Amen.