Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Little did I realize when I wrote the last Blogspiration that a couple of landslides would wipe out the trail ahead of my own life pilgrimage, not once, but twice.
The first came just after I wrote last month’s blog sharing my experience of climbing to the top of Rooster Rock in the heart of the Oregon Cascades.
One morning, my wife became light-headed, slumped down in her recliner chair, and it was apparent to me she was having a stroke.
I will not belabor any further details except to say that as I share these thoughts, I thank God she is much better.
Nevertheless, the emergency room scenarios, the hours and days spent at a nearby hospital, doctor appointments, therapists and others along with some scares along the way, it was not the path I would have chosen; but it was the one where Jesus led us.
Not long after, as I opened my e-mails, I received a message that our beloved pastor suffered a major medical emergency late yesterday afternoon. That’s landslide number two. And I have no idea just how Jesus is going to get us and our fellow believers through this one, but I know that as we do our best to follow Him, He will see us through. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
My mind went back to a lady named Millie. She was in the church where I was the pastor. She was also our Christian Education leader, the church organist, a high school English and French teacher, and the middle school girls’ track coach.
In the prime of her life, she had cancer. I do not recall the precise nature of it, but it was swift and ultimately terminal.
On a Sunday morning, she did not feel up to attending church services. Her husband planned to stay with her, but she insisted he and the family go.
We were just getting ready to sit down to Sunday dinner when the phone rang. It was Millie’s husband saying the family came home and found her dead.
I dropped everything, made my way to their home. On the dining room table was her open Bible to the verse that is quoted at the beginning of this blog. She had highlighted it in yellow. The moment my eyes fell upon that page, I knew that I had my scripture text for the memorial service.
Even as I share this many years later, I find myself overwhelmed with those words that exemplified Millie’s faith and her life.
When that final landslide closes the path forever, our gentle Shepherd lifts us up and away and out of the trials and the pains and the sorrows of this world.
Millie went home to the Lord, praising Him for His comfort in her extreme uncomfortability. Through the pain and everything else that accompanied it, she was thanking the Lord for being able to share His comfort with others who needed it.
Believe it or not, the very act of her final Bible reading did just that. The church building was packed out with people from throughout the community and crowds filled the church’s front yard with special loudspeakers set up so that all could hear the message.
During my wife’s hospitalization, I was able to bring comfort to one of the nurses as we both discovered that a lady we both knew from a different region of the state had just passed away.
As I continue to write “The Pilgrimage and Pathways of Pastor Preechet,” (the sequel to “The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet), I find myself continuing to work through my own, and I have just one additional thing to say: God is faithful and when we put our trust in Him, He will see us through.