I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
— Philippians 4:13
How can a devoted husband watch his beloved wife go through the last stages of cancer knowing she would soon be gone from him to spend eternity in heaven?
How can this same husband fulfill a dying wish from his wife and agree to preach her funeral service? How can he stand up before a packed church and tell others about his wife and the years they spent together? How can he tell others with assurance that he knows his wife is now in heaven and someday he will see her again? How can he display such peace despite a very difficult time in his life?
It is because of Christ, who strengthened him and carried him through this ordeal.
During the funeral, the husband commented there would probably come a time when he would fall apart. He told those present that later on he planned to spend time alone to grieve. However at that time he was fulfilling a promise in Christ’s strength, and not his own.
For someone who hasn’t experienced this extraordinary strength it is a little difficult to explain, only observed. I know in my own life I experienced this when my brother suddenly passed away. At the funeral I had a peace and calm I couldn’t explain. It was as though I was being held and comforted throughout the service. I was sad that my brother was gone, but I knew he was in heaven with Jesus. While others thought I was heavily tranquilized, I explained to them that I didn’t need tranquilizers because I had the strength from Jesus to sustain me through that time.
In John 14:18, Jesus promised he would not leave us comfortless. In verse 27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Am I saying we shouldn’t weep at funerals and express the deep grief from within? Certainly not. Even Jesus wept over the death of his dear friend Lazarus as told in John 11:34-36.
Instead, in the case of this husband, he asked Jesus to sustain him and give him strength to fulfill his promise. Jesus honored that prayer and it served as a testimony to all those present.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Whatever ordeal you are going through today, you can know for certain that you don’t have to go through it alone. The situation may not change and it may seem as though your prayer went unanswered. I don’t know why bad things happen and I don’t know why some of our loved ones have to die so young. However, I do know that I will never have to go through it all alone. I will always have Jesus to give me strength.
Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at: email@example.com