The quicker we are to accept that some
situations really have changed for ever, the more rapidly we will
move through the grief process. Unless we are dealing with a literal
bereavement, however, it is by no means always obvious whether the
loss we are experiencing will prove to be permanent.
The chaplain of a local hospital asked
David Woodhouse to visit the parents of a seventeen-year-old boy,
who had been involved in a severe traffic accident. The doctors were
planning to withdraw the young man’s life support, as David recalls.
||My head was in a
spin – what was I going to say or do? On the short journey
to the house, I prayed in tongues and the Lord gave me a
verse. On arrival I met the parents and a grandmother, who
informed me that as they were leaving the hospital, one of
the doctors had told them they had just run a further brain
scan which detected life at the lowest level. So far as I
was concerned, that just made my situation worse! Were we to
pray for a peaceful death, a full recovery or risk a
vegetative state with all its tragic consequences? These
were the verses the Lord gave me:
No good thing will the
Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trust in You.
We saw the latest scan result
as a positive and decided that we could trust the Lord for
the best outcome. We stood in the centre of the room with
our arms on each other’s shoulders and prayed together. That
afternoon I went to the ICU and prayed in tongues at the
boy’s bedside. Four days later the lad was on a general ward
and none the worse for his accident!
Such outcomes may be rare, but they
are such an encouragement! Sometimes, however, the Lord flags up
that a season of suffering lies ahead.18 Thus it was, just days
after Jesus was born, that Simeon, by the power of the Holy Spirit,
warned Mary of the suffering she would experience as a result of
what people would do to her Son.
||This child is
destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a
joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but
many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of
many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your
very soul. Luke 2:34, 35
During all the years when Jesus was
growing up, Mary lived with this awareness of what lay ahead. Jesus
Himself intimated clearly to both Peter and Paul the extent of the
sufferings they would experience in the course of fulfilling their
respective ministries.19 He told His followers that they were to
take heart precisely because He has overcome the worst this world
can throw at Him. Even when it appears as though we are all but
completely overwhelmed, He is careful not to take us anywhere His
power cannot sustain us.20
Lord, how priceless is your unfailing love
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7;17:8, 63:7
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