There is a threefold lesson that I learned Easter of 2001 and the weeks following Easter into the hot days of summer. These lessons have come to mind these last few weeks of uncertainty. In Psalms 45:18, the psalmist says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” David praises his God for His greatness, His mercy, goodness, and in verse 18 David addresses the closeness of God, literally within us as we call on Him in complete trust and faithfulness. It was during those days in 2001 that I truly understood this passage as I called and sometimes screamed to God for help and wisdom. I was taught my entire life the life-saving meaning of trusting in God. He literally knows every corner of our heart, and if we are honestly trusting Him, the significance in our lives is eternal.
Sarah, our oldest daughter, was hospitalized on Easter morning of 2001 with a devastating diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Our daughter died on August 1, 2001. It was a dark, life-changing and awful experience for me and my family. Although the loss is always there, scabbed over after time, I can attest to the work of my Lord and Savior though this journey. Right after Sarah’s death, our nation experienced 9/11. I saw our nation, those countless families grieving, confused, looking for the same answers my husband and I needed. We found our answers on our knees in the very first minutes after we learned of Sarah’s death. The grief we experienced tore at our faith, challenged our cognitive abilities, and went to war with our physical health; but through total dependence on our Lord and Savior, we found new strength in God, in His Word. God comforts, heals our pain, and offers ways to minister to others through it all. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit who guides us. Our Father in heaven brings light and clarity to the journey and is with us though all the valleys and straight to the mountain tops. Our part, being in a right relationship with our Lord and Savior before the valleys hit. God reveals what he does for us so clearly in these verses below, and that is the second part of the lesson we all must learn. He offers peace, comfort, discernment, direction, and a light to see past the tragedy.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, the comfort me.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and a buckler.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
In the days following Sarah’s death, we learned a great deal about servant-hood and humility through those who took care of our every need. Jesus taught us all much about humility and servant-hood in John 13, and that is the third part of the lesson. As Jesus finished washing the disciples’ feet He said in verses 14-16, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater that the one who sent him.” The washing of one’s feet in ancient times was often done and offered by a hostess upon entering a home, yet having another wash one’s feet was done by slaves or showed a sign of humility and willingness to serve. Jesus knew his time was at hand and wanted his close friends to understand this life lesson before he returned to the Father. It is actually through our experiences that I discovered where God called me to work in His Kingdom. This was hard lesson learned in tragedy, but this lesson brought light into our darkness, the light of the Lord.