[Just a brief mention that this post title may sound familiar to some of you who have read some of my earlier writings. I kept the title and the primary story it contained..but I changed some of what I shared since my life has also gone through so changes since I first wrote it! I pray you are blessed regardless if this is the first time or second time in hearing how God chose to answer the cries of a new widow...]
"For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."
-2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT)
My life over the past few years without my husband has sometimes felt like I was in the middle of some strange emotional tug of war with myself! Some days I feel pulled by my memories of Brad's and my life together ...recalling the moments I treasured and remembering all those tiny details that went into making our life together special. I than feel my spirit's desire pushing me to move forward with God beyond what my life held as Brad’s wife. Today was a day I gave into the pull of my past memories.
After a little while (and a few tears too) I knew I needed to move on...but I hated the thought of letting go again of the dreams Brad and I shared for the future that was never ours to have.
Sooo...feeling as though I had taken three steps forward in my “new life” and now suddenly feeling I just took two giant steps back...Jesus only allowed me to sit alone in my pity party of one for a brief while before sitting down beside me and helping me to recall some of the lessons I have been taught through His love these past years.
As difficult and painful the process has been for me since Brad’s death...I’ve learned through my loss to look inside my heart to find the things that had been keeping me from placing my complete trust and love in God.
Where I once had looked to Brad as my main source for a lifetime of love and security…it is in Jesus that I will always find the One true source that will always meet every (tangible and intangible) need my life yearns for. I discovered that God alone remains faithful in providing me with His abundant provisions of love and security for every day and every need.
In fact...through studying His Word and in prayer, the Lord has given me eyes to see beyond my own needs and even gives me glimpses of this world through His eyes so that I may know His heart more fully and respond to the needs of others with love and compassion. Although I still have those days and nights that I long for what I once had with Brad I know that there will be a day when the weight of this world will be replaced with the glorious weight of Heaven!
I just have to share this one experience with you...
After Brad died...and for months afterwards...I cried out many times to God that Brad's long days & hours of dying were too painful...the memory and thoughts I held of my precious husband being so tormented were more than I could bear. I wanted to "trust" God with how Brad died...but I struggled beyond imagine with the "why" it had to be "this way." Brad loved Jesus wholeheartedly...everyone who knew Brad, knew he had a heart for Christ. “Why Lord would you allow him to suffer so greatly in death?”
And than one morning as I laid in bed awake...once again crying for comfort from these tormenting thoughts… God blessed me with the most beautiful answer I would never have imagined seeing and hearing with my heart.
I saw myself walking along side of Jesus with my head turned towards Him as I spoke with him. (I was very animated while talking and moving my hands like I do when I am excited about something…yikes!). As we walked, Jesus' eyes were always on my face and He was smiling and even laughing at something I had said. (That image alone is “off the charts” wonderful…); Then Jesus suddenly stopped walking and turned his head looking straight ahead. So…of course I stopped too and turned my head to see what he was looking at.
As I looked ahead of us, I saw the back of a tall slender man wearing a white shirt with ahead full of thick brown hair…and as he turned around to face us it was my most handsome and youthful husband Brad! Before even a moment went by...Brad cried out, "You're here!” He ran to me and scooped me up into his arms and swung me around and around saying over and over again, "You’re here, you’re here!"
As Brad swung me around I began to cry and thru my sobs I said..."I'm so sorry Brad, so sorry…you had to die in so much pain. I'm sorry..." Brad quickly stopped spinning me and as he closely held my face to his in the palms of his hands…with those beautiful deep set eyes fixed on my tear filled eyes, he said, "Oh Kathy...it was nothing...it is nothing!” While saying this his face broke out in the biggest smile…his face was filled with joy! I understood immediately what he meant...
You see...no matter the trials and heartache this life will bring...the moment…the very moment we exhale our last breath in this life and inhale our first breath of Heaven…all the pains and all the heartaches, every trial and trouble are washed away into the glory and beauty of our Lord's presence and our eternal home in Heaven!
What a gift…what amazing love God poured over my grieving heart on that morning. Finally… I found the peace I had been looking for and needed concerning Brad's last days and hours.
I no longer ask God "Why?" or cry out to God asking him to “explain.” I still shed some tears in missing Brad and I still don't know "why?" But...that question of “why?” no longer holds my attention or torments my heart. For I have a better answer than a reason could provide…
It is to the joy of what is coming…the promise of one day I will be in heaven worshiping my Savior. One day, I will actually be walking along side of Jesus and we will be talking and laughing together. I will again be with Brad.
The promised weight of glory lifts off my heart all the weight of pain this world can ever give.
"Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory...
That you still got a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming."
- Before the Morning by Josh Wilson
"For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever"