God's care for the grieving (1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11)
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When she called, I didn’t understand her words. “What should I do? Round trip or one way?”
Her husband had suffered a heart attack while in the U.K. on business, and she was frantic to get to him. She was trying to make travel decisions in the midst of settling shock. At the airport, waiting with her to put her on the plane, we had limited words and abundant hope. Together we cast our shared anxiety upon God, trusting in God’s care.
In my purse was a printed copy of a John O’Donohue blessing called “Beannacht.” A young adult from our congregation had shared it with me earlier in the week. In the airport that day, before she made her way to her husband’s side, we read the words together: "...May there come across the waters / a path of yellow moonlight / to bring you safely home..." She took the crumpled copy with her to the U.K.
When she arrived, the doctors explained the gravity of her husband's situation, their medical procedures, and the tragedy that her husband would not survive. She lay beside him in bed and whispered these words of blessing before he died.
She brought his ashes safely back to the home they shared in Memphis. Days later, on her birthday, her church small group--desperate to support her--took her to the river’s edge. They brought this O’Donohue blessing along, and at the edge of the river, as the sun set, together they stitched a fragile yet resilient hope of glory: that in time, God would restore, support, strengthen, and establish her. As they left, they saw that yellow path across the Mighty Mississippi. To God be all the glory, now and forever.