Have I ever told you about my friend Madeline*? She was 80 this year and said she doesn’t like to think about being that old. I told her, it’s a good thing. I’ve known her for years. She knew my family before I was born. She helped me through a very difficult time in my life.
Madeline came to mind as I watched the programs covering the anniversary of 9-11 and the losses experienced. I have friends who have lost a child. I have friends who have lost a spouse. My son lost his best friend in a car accident. The loss of someone we love is nearly impossible to shake.
Madeline lost both of her children.
So they sat down with him (Job) on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 2:13 (NKJV) (parenthesis mine)
Although I was young when it happened, I clearly remember when her son died. This is how I remember the tragedy. The news spread through the countryside like wildfire, as they say. He’d been swimming in a river, at a state park, with friends. He dove in and an undercurrent pulled him down and he drowned. I think he was 18.
Several years later, Madeline’s daughter (who had three young children) was diagnosed with cancer and could not win the battle. She died too.
Two children born and loved—and then they were gone. I can’t imagine anything worse.
Madeline is one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. I’ve never heard her blame the river or the cancer or God. I’ve never heard her say that she should give up. I’ve heard her talk about the blessings of her life.His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:9-10 (NIV)
It’s easy to blame and understandable, but peace and blame cannot coexist. Blaming has nothing to do with healing and blame can lead to bitterness. It muddles the mind and interferes with the peace in our soul.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ( said Jesus) John 16:33 (NIV)
In my own heartbreaks, my faith in God and his ability to help me overcome terrible times has kept me alive…literally. Madeline says the same thing.
*Name changed to protect my innocence.
Resources: Holy Bible and Bible Gateway