Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No Smell of Smoke

This article is my submission to the blog challenge sponsored by Art Bookbindery, "Empowering Writers to Self Publish."


Last Thursday I had the honor of hearing a good friend of mine give her testimony. You see, she's walked through a fiery pit over the last four years. Yet God has brought her through without even the slightest scent of smoke on her clothes. (Daniel 3: 26-27)

It happened on August 10, 2003. My friend and her husband went to church and then came home for a quiet Sunday afternoon. They put their five month old baby down for his afternoon nap. He woke up in heaven. Their precious son had died and there was no cause. SIDS.

Around 7PM that Sunday evening, I answered the phone. It was another friend passing along the devastating news. I remember being in shock. I remember holding my own baby, then 10 months old, and crying. I remember, too, the phone calls I then made to the rest of our small group. It was a difficult night.

Over the next few days we, as a small group, had an opportunity to surround our friends with love in precious few ways. Their families and our pastor were with them, but we felt so helpless to show them how much we cared. And how much our hearts were hurting for them. We prayed as never before. God gave them the strength to speak about their son at his funeral. They worshipped, hands raised, during the service. And they made sure the gospel was presented, even as they grieved their loss.

There is no other way to describe what this couple has walked through than as a fiery pit. On Thursday, my friend spoke to a group of ladies at a local MOPS group. It was the first time she's spoken publicly about all that had happened. I was invited to join them.

I was nervous on her behalf, but I didn't need to be. She was walking in the strength of her Lord. She recounted the events of that first year, and then she began to talk about healing. God is faithful. She challenged us to ground ourselves deeply in the Word and to teach our children to live godly lives so that when tragedy strikes, we'll have something to lean on. Her faith, she said, was simplistic before. But after, it became deep and well rooted.

My friend and her husband have two more children now. If you did not know them four years ago, you would not not ever guess that this sweet couple had been through such sadness. There is no smell of smoke, no scent of bitterness or anger. They celebrate the life that God has given them and treasure the lives of the babies they are privileged to parent. When I left that MOPS meeting last Thursday, I was tearful from reliving those difficult weeks in my memory. But her sweet testimony was such a celebration of the months she had with her son and of what God has done for her, that I couldn't help but be joyful. And I couldn't help but to celebrate life. His faithfulness stretches to the sky...

Your love, oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean's tide
I will lift my voice
To worship You, my King
I will find my strength
In the shadow of your wings

©1998 New Spring Publishing/Gray Dot Songs/Vandura 2500 Songs
Words and Music by Brad Avery, David Carr, Mark Lee
Words and Music by Johnny Mac Powell & Tai Anderson


Rebeca said...

Thank you for sharing your friend's sad story. It is a testimony to God's faithfulness. How hard for them though.

Christine said...

Well said, Julie. I loved reading your correlation between Daniel and "your friend" coming out of their fiery pits without even the smell of smoke! God is amazing. He is so powerful, so merciful. It's so easy to look at our circumstances and become overwhelmed and devastated, but His view is so different. He brings peace out of pain, restoration from brokenness, joy out of tears. Through our trials, we learn to appreciate how dependable He is! What a powerful testimony!