“My son, Micah died in 2012 from kidney disease and complications,” wrote Minnesota minister Michael Sechler. Obviously, as it would be for any parent, it was a devastating experience.
Michael captured both his feelings and his faith as he wrote these words in his journal.
“Sitting at the bedside of my dying son at 3:48 in the morning. Weeping like crazy. Bertrand Russell once said that ‘no one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and believe in God.’ Well I beg to differ. My faith is the thing that strengthens me. How else can I make it through? We cannot do anything else. This fire drains away everything else. Nothing else satisfies my soul. I would love to save my son. I would easily give my life for his, but God has not chosen that path for us. He has chosen a vale of tears, but He will walk through it with me.”
“Micah now walks with Jesus, and Jesus still walks with me.”
When we experience the separation of death with its accompanying hurt, loneliness and grief, one of the great texts of the Bible to offer comfort and consolation is Psalm 46. The first verse begins with a promise that provides solace in times of sorrow.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
(1) God is our refuge.
A refuge is a place of safety and security from danger. We can find shelter in God in times of trouble, trial and temptation. When heartache overwhelms us like a flood God’s love, mercy and goodness are a guard to our spirits. They sustain us and offer sanctuary in a sinful world. A world with senseless evil and unmitigated malice.
(2) God is Our Strength.
We need not only refuge for shelter and safety, but strength to take up life’s tasks once the storm has passed.
When we experience sickness and sorrow in our lives, it is debilitating. When death invades our home, it can drain our energy and emotion. It leaves us empty. Hollow. And hurt. In times like that we need mental, emotional and physical strength. We need spiritual strength.
To people who were enduring an extreme hardship, God made this promise through his prophet: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa 41:10)
(3) God Is Our Help
God will not fail us when we need him. The Psalmist emphasised this fact when he wrote. God is our Help. Our present help. Our very present help.
Friends may forsake us. Family may neglect us. But God is there to protect us. Encourage us. Help us. An unknown poet put it this way:
Speak to him, thou, for He heareth
And spirit with spirit can meet.
Closer is He than breathing.
And nearer than hands and feet.
God’s help literally reached to earth from heaven when He sent Jesus to die for our sins. Make no mistake, God loves you. Cares for you. And desires to help you.
Whatever challenge you are facing, ailment you are suffering, or hurt that you are enduring, know that God is there. He will sustain you. Protect you. And bear you through your veil of tears.
––Ken Weliever, The Preacherman