“Ma’am, Your husband is dead.”
I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was a terrible head-on collision that killed my beloved husband, David, instantly. The officer’s words took away any hope I could hold on to. My only way out was that it was all a terrible dream. But it wasn’t a dream. It was all too real.
I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and a newborn. I didn’t know how I was supposed to live or make a living. I didn’t know how I was going to raise two children without a father. David took care of all our finances and family plans. I had no idea where to start.
I felt like my perfectly balanced world was just shaken up and turned upside down. Everything was swirling around like a tornado in slow motion, and I was trying to make my way through all of it despite being blinded by all the dirt and debris. I didn’t know which way was up; I didn’t know how to get my feet on the ground again, or where I would land if I did. My world was completely swirling around me. Unstable was an understatement.
The state of our world at this time in history is a little like my family tragedy. How do we live in this world where nothing seems certain?
As modern Americans, we forget that there have been times of instability throughout history. I had to realize as a new widow that I wasn’t the first woman to lose a husband. I couldn’t understand how everyone kept living as if nothing had happened. I felt like the world should be turning the opposite direction. But that was just my perception.
In the same way, we must realize that the world has gone through many unstable times, and yet God has remained faithful to his people. There was the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. There were World Wars. There were the Dark Ages. Even in the time of the New Testament Christians were persecuted and tortured. But God has continued to be on the throne.
How Does this Affect me?
Still, each of us is more concerned about how these unstable times affect our own lives—our savings, the future, our rights as citizens. How can we live in peace and not fear?
First, remember you are foremost a citizen of heaven, and God is in control. Philippians 3:20 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” We can trust our king to take care of his people. We will not be forgotten or abandoned. Just like God provided a way for the Israelite slaves during Egypt, if we follow Him, He will show us the way out of destruction.
When my husband died, I didn’t know what decisions to make. I didn’t know where to go for legal or financial matters, so I got on my knees on the living room floor. I grabbed my little two-year-old son by the hands. We bowed our heads and prayed for God to lead us, and I prayed something like this: “I don’t know if we will sink or swim, Lord, but I trust you that no matter what happens, you are in control. Maybe we’ll be taken advantage of by others. Maybe we’ll be victimized. I certainly have no idea what I’m doing. So I’m trusting you in the most blind faith I’ve ever had. Whatever happens, I‘m ready to go with you wherever it leads.”
I was amazed as I watched God lead me to legal and financial advisors who would pray with me and counsel me as a Christian as well as a widow and patiently walk me through all my questions like a baby learning to walk and talk. God had already prepared the way. I had no mental capacity to research and interview and find the best choice for help. God just kept opening doors that lead to the exact person I needed.
Second, follow the principles in the word of God, and your life will reap the benefits. The Bible isn’t just a book of rhetoric or poetry. It does have those elements, but it also has very practical advice and wisdom. The book of Proverbs is an excellent example. Throughout the Bible, you will find principles like living within your means, storing up for the future, the importance of good relationships with others, living fairly, and treating others with respect.
Because David and I had followed these principles in life, the kids and I had an easier time transitioning to our new life. We had no debt. David had taken out life insurance because his job involved a lot of travel. He had kept good records of all our affairs and labeled them clearly.
We also had invested in the lives of friends and the church, and when we faced tragedy, our community turned out in droves with a fantastic outpouring of love! As Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
Third, remember that this world is not our home. What’s the worst that can happen? We lose all the possessions we have? We lose our lives? These things are just temporary anyway. Perhaps American Christians have become too comfortable with our lives of ease. Like the children of Israel who were set free from slavery, they complained that they missed the comforts of Egypt—dates, honey, and garlic. They weren’t satisfied with the manna provided by God. But they forgot that their wilderness was only temporary. The Promised Land was coming! And it’s coming for us.
We must keep our eyes on heaven and not be afraid to lose our lives for the sake of the gospel. One of the worst parts of losing my spouse (still is the hardest part) is seeing all the memories and precious moments that David is missing in his children’s lives. But I believe that God will restore all that was taken away. One of the scriptures I hold onto is Joel 2:25, in which God promises, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” I don’t know how God will restore the years that my children lost with their daddy, but I believe with all my heart that He will. God’s word promises that He will make all things new—the world, the wonder of things, and even our very beings. “And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:5). And He will make all of our loses worth the pain in heaven.
You can trust Him
When the world feels like it is spinning out of control, we can keep our eyes on the one stability there is—the person of Jesus Christ. He is the only stability of our time or any time. Jesus called his word “the rock.” He explained it this way in Matthew 7:24-27:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and bear against that house, and it fell and great was the fall of it.
As long as we stand on his word, the shifting sand around us won’t affect us. The economy may fail, jobs become scarce, order may turn into chaos, and wrong become right, but those who follow Christ will always stand firm.
That was certainly true for my kids and me. Throughout my years of widowhood, I delved into the word of God and found a whole new level of love for my savior. It wasn’t easy to weather the storm. I worried at times, but God proved to be faithful. He was comfort in loneliness, protection in weakness, light in darkness, hope in dreadfulness. When everything I had was taken from me, all I had left was Jesus … and He was all I needed.
Copyright © 2016 by Sabrina McDonald.