In 2007, my friend Kevin Harrison was awakened by his only daughter, Beth, who had a piercing headache. After telling Kevin she loved him, she collapsed and died of a brain aneurysm shortly thereafter. No one imagined it could get any worse, but then two years ago, it did.
Kevin’s wife, Wanda, suffered a brain bleed that left her in a coma without much hope for surviving. After Kevin left Wanda at the hospital one night to come home and clean up, he wrote this:
I’m alone. The house is quiet. The only sound to disturb my sleep tonight is the sound of tasks I now have to do clanging against memories. Tomorrow begins a new chapter in my life. I do not look forward to this chapter at all. I’m in bed but I’m not sure how it is I am supposed to go to sleep. I could pretend that my love is just away for work and will be home soon but somehow my pretender got broken.
Tomorrow I will be signing documents that will ensure that this hole in my heart will get bigger.
Seven years ago I got by because someone was beside me to give me direction while I gave her laughter. Now I feel directionless without her. She was my compass. Without her I am drifting aimlessly.
Wanda died the next day, and for the next few months, Kevin’s friends watched him drifting and wondered if Kevin would ever be able to love again. Here’s the answer to that question in Kevin’s own words …
In 2007, my wife, Wanda, and I shared the grief of losing a 15-year-old daughter. Little did I know that the loss of our daughter was killing Wanda. In 2014, she raced into heaven to scoop up our daughter, who got the opportunity to introduce Wanda to Jesus.
Life has been unfair, but through it all I have tried to remain focused on Heaven. Even so, after losing my family, loneliness became my best friend. It followed me everywhere. It climbed into bed with me. Every. Single. Night.
The only solace I had was that the Holy Spirit was always a whisper away. But you cannot hold the Holy Spirit. You cannot stroke the Holy Spirit’s face at night. You cannot watch the Holy Spirit sleep. You can’t snuggle with the Holy Spirit on a rainy Sunday afternoon. You can’t reach your foot over in bed in the middle of the night for that reassuring touch. Yes, the Holy Spirit did indeed comfort me, but there is a reason God said that it is not good for man to be alone.
So in the subsequent months, I began seeking out a woman who might become my new forever-after, and I met some wonderful women with great qualifications. But they were not the ones for me. I eventually realized that one of the reasons I was struggling so much to find someone was that I was spending way too much time looking for a gift and not enough time looking at the Giver.
I have read through Job several times in my lifetime so I understand why people sometimes try to compare the two of us. But I had it better than Job. Much better. I had a wonderful wife and child who always there to encourage me when I needed them. To replace them with something better would be impossible. So I prayed that God would use what I am going through for His glory. And then it happened. I read Job 42:10: “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. God used this verse to shake me from my misery and remind me that the gift I have in Him is so much more than so many other people have.
I have often preached that in order to have true joy, Christians must put Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last. It is very difficult in grief to put others first. But God had me recognize other people’s needs more than my own.Then, over time, it happened. God gradually gave me the peace to be content with just Him. He reminded me to seek Him first.
And then all of these things were added unto me. I now have an incredible woman in my life who also loves God, and we will soon marry. Instead of one beautiful daughter, God gave me twice as much as I had before in two lovely ladies whom I am proud to call step-daughters. He has restored my joy.
Is this what will happen to you? That’s not up to me. It’s not up to you to pray the “magic” prayer. God is not a quick-fix God. As much as we would love to microwave God’s plans into completion, we have to recognize that He often uses a crock pot. But keep the faith. You don’t know when He put the ingredients in for your wonderful future life, and you won’t know when it will be ready. But rest assured it can happen. Just seek Him first and let all these things be added unto you.
Thanks so much, Kevin. You can follow Kevin on his Facebook page or at his blog.