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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Finding Strength and Help in Difficult Times

by Dennis Edwards

Eight years ago my twenty-seven year old son died suddenly from a swimming accident. At midnight the 17th of March, Saint Patrick’s Day, I received a call from my son’s roommate. My son had gone missing and his clothing had been found on a nearby beach. 

My first reaction was to get down on my knees and cry out to the Lord in prayer. As I did, much to my surprise, I had a vision of my son entering into Heaven to the joy of my parents and other departed loved ones. I immediately knew he would not be found alive. Five days later his body washed ashore and was found by some German tourists. 

What helped me through those difficult days? What was the healing balm that enable me to continue on? Of course, having a relationship with the Lord and being able to hear His still small voice in prayer was a great help and stabilizing affect at that time. The words of encouragement that others had received in prayer for me were also very strengthening. Reading God's word, especially the Psalms, where I receive comfort from the written word was, also, important. Crying out to the Lord with all my heart in prayer was another important aspect of the healing and helped me in ways I probably do not consciously understand. 

But perhaps the most important key to my healing in a tangible, physical way, that I remember most clearly above all the rest was the love and encouragement I received from others. For that to happen, I had to confess and share my heartache. The Bible says, “Confess your faults one to another. Pray one for another that you may be healed.”[1] Confessing to others what I was going through enabled me to receive the encouragement that I needed and was perhaps the key to victory and healing.

I remember my first day in Bermuda where my son had died. While asking for directions at a shop, I mentioned to the shop girl that I was the father of the young man who had recently drowned. “You poor thing,” she sighed. “Can I come around and give you a big hug.” On numerous occasions I received encouragement from strangers that I met in this way.

God promises to comfort us in our times of tribulation.[2] Jesus said He would send the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to us. He wants us to be comforted. But if we keep our troubles locked inside, if we keep the pain in, we won’t receive the love and encouragement we need and our healing process will be longer and perhaps never complete.

Therefore, do not keep those emotions hidden. Let the tears flow. Share your pain. Share your sorrow. In doing so, others will respond with the balm of love you need. Do not suffer in silence. Share your hurt and others around you will help heal it. God works this way to draw us closer to one another and be His arms and His hands and His lips and His ears to one another. 

When we receive the love and encouragement that we need in our time of anguish, we are able later to return that love and encouragement to other needy or suffering souls that pass our way. “Blessed be God…who comforts us in all our tribulation, so that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” [3]

You can watch the memorial my daughter Marie made of Martin here.

[1] James 5:16
[2] 2Corinthians 2:4
[3]2Corinthians 1:3-4

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