Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)
TITLE: They Shall Be Comforted
By Richard Schilke
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“Wh-hh-at?” Her son, who was sleeping on the couch, fell to the floor with a startled thud as he called out. He tripped over Petey, the family dog, to fall flat again as he groggily reached for the phone.
The next fifteen minutes seemed like hours as the ambulance rushed to the scene in blustery January weather. Sirens cut through the brisk night air as the blizzard conditions reduced visibility. Finally, the son saw the flashing lights as the emergency vehicle neared the end of the country driveway. The paramedics burst from the ambulance and were escorted through the deep snow to the rear of the house where access to the bedroom was possible.
The father died that blustery night, leaving behind a wife, three children and a grandson. Five days before that January 12th was his 50th birthday. His health had been an issue since the morning he was born. Doctors had diagnosed him with a reversed ventricle in his heart.
As a father he was the backbone of the family. As a grandfather, he was stability to a little boy whose father was broken by the pain of a failed relationship. His two sons respected him so much that they both had worked through disabling conditions to become employed at the time of his death. The wife and daughter had looked up to the deceased as their protector.
Sadness is created by loss. The family of the man who suddenly passed from this world had experienced loss before the tragic event, but now their protector, problem-solver and mentor had suddenly left them without warning, permanently. No phone calls, no chance to say good-bye. The holiday season that recently passed before the sudden demise had been like a healing balm, giving all the family members a chance to be together, talk about past mistakes made in life, and forgive one another for words spoken out of heated frustration.
The father mentioned above was my father, my earthly father. Due to the sudden loss of my father, I have developed a closer relationship with my heavenly Father. The pain of losing my father took me places that I wouldn’t otherwise have gone; some good, some bad. But through all experiences I have come to know that my heavenly ‘will never leave me or forsake me’ (Hebrews 13:5).
Jesus taught the disciples the principles of being blessed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–11). Those principles, the beatitudes, defined by the Encarta Dictionary, are “statements of those who are blessed.” The second blessing He spoke of is, ‘blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted’ (v. 4 KJV). Those that have sorrow in their lives will be comforted.
The morning my dad died, I was filled with sorrow. The time of the year was dark, the days shortened and the sunlight covered by heavy clouds. Seasonal affective disorder, SAD, had set in. The sun barely made an appearance the first twelve days that year. I prayed and asked God to let me know where my father had gone. The sign I asked for was that the sun would shine at a time when the storm was heaviest and clearly impossible to shine. The sun shone brightly that very day. The radio even made mention to the sunshine. But the most powerful answer was still yet to come.
Three days after dad passed away, time had come to bury him. Our former preacher would not bury him because of a past disagreement about conflicting doctrine. The blizzard, which subsided until hours before the funeral, resumed with a fury. His parents were snowed in and the only other family able to attend was his oldest brother, wife and son. My brother read the Psalm 53, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” The wind died, the clouds opened and the sun shone brightly until the first shovel full of dirt hit the casket. The storm resumed.
Ten years passed by since that fateful moment my father suddenly exited from this world. I wonder about what we could have been, as family, and can’t help feeling a moment of grief from this loss. Instantly, I am comforted by the memory of the 53rd Psalm. The loss I feel drives me to seek the kingdom of God, and every time I am comforted. My dad is in heaven.
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