Out Of The Sorrow

   I have had so many people ask, how does a Christian’s faith stay so strong in the face of loss?

  Right away, I had to think of our friends, whose precious 20-year-old daughter, died in a car wreck recently.  They KNOW they will see her again, with joy and confidence!  With tears in their eyes, and smiles on their faces, they will tell you so with complete certainty.

  They are pictured below on the right.  We so appreciate them coming to not only the funeral, but the grave service of the memorial service of Papa. It was so hard, and so fresh for them, just a month out.
Ally’s gravestone is right next to our Papa’s…..I find that comforting somehow, even though I know those bodies are empty shells.  They are HOME already!

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   So the service is over, we cleaned out his house this weekend, we have a stack of bills and paperwork to sort through, and life is marching on.

 But it’s just not the same, because there are 3 sons and a daughter, 6 grandkids, and a daughter in law, who miss their Grandpa, Papa and Dad…..

Every. Moment. Of. Every. Day.

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How does life go on?

  Let me let you in on the secret……

It’s Jesus.

Plain and simple.

  It’s hard to fathom for those who don’t know Him personally.  It’s super natural, it’s not of this Earth, our minds can’t handle it.  We can’t wrap our minds around an Eternity in Paradise, in a place with no sorrow and no pain, FOREVER with those we love.
Only ONE way to Heaven, and the ticket is Jesus Christ and what He did on that cross. The Bible says in that it is NOT by works, lest any man should boast.  

  Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, lest any man should boast.”

Wow.  What a gift!

  The Father always uses our darkest times in our lives, to make Himself known in the most powerful, undeniable ways.  Papa’s last days on Earth were no exception.

I am reminded of the Hymn we sang yesterday at his church; the church Dale and his siblings grew up in…..

 It Is Well  

Have you heard the story behind this heart grabbing hymn?

  A man name Horatio, a wealthy lawyer with a thriving practice, beautiful family; wife, 4 daughters and a son…devout Christian, successful businessmen.  At the height of their success, they lost their young son, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed all of the family real estate investments.

  Shortly after, this weary family decided to vacation in Europe to take some time to recover from these losses.  Due to a business delay, Horatio sent his wife and 4 daughters on without him, promising to join them in just a few days.

  Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.  With a heavy heart, he boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on those very seas, close to the accident site, he penned the words to this famous hymn.  It is well in my soul….

Please take a moment to watch?

  Dale’s oldest brother, Kevin, told us he would be going to Papa’s church on Sunday to say something to them from the stage.

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  We didn’t ask questions, just quickly made arrangements to be there and support him.

Here is what he had to say from the pulpit of that church:

“In the final weeks of my father’s life, I felt the Hand of God through the overwhelming flood of love, and support pouring out from my family, and this wonderful group of believers.

  It made me realize I was trying to struggle through this life on Earth alone.  I have spent the last 20 years withdrawing from God, family and from friends.

  When I pulled my Bible out last week, it had a pretty heavy layer of dust on it.  I wiped it off and immediately turned to the 23rd Psalm. {Papa’s favorite}
The Lord IS my Shepherd…..  
And now I am open to his guidance.

  I am up here today, to give thanks.  I want to thank you for the love, support and delicious meals you provided my Dad, and my family.

  I want to thank Frieda for the warm invitation to return to this family.  And John Yoder for the same, his exact words were, “Don’t be a stranger.”

  I would like to thank Dale and Tonya for being there for Dad every step of the way, in his fight with cancer.  And for giving me my Bible that will not collect dust again.

  Finally, I would like to thank my dad, for leading by example my entire life.  And at the end of his, showing me what was missing from mine.
  
  Now, I want to cherish every moment I have with the loving family I was blessed to be given.  And I want to have a personal relationship with Jesus, starting with returning to this incredible House of God, that still feels like home.”

  What an honor to sit there and watch this transformed man on stage.  To hear the amen and applause from the church body, as he stood up before a crowd of witnesses, and gave a profession of faith.

  That, my friends, is the power of Jesus Christ, working through a church that is dedicated to being the hands and feet of Jesus.  The lost lamb has returned to the flock, praise Jesus!  There is great rejoicing in Heaven!!!!!

 I know Papa is so, so proud of Kevin, and so pleased that in the face of his death, new life in Christ was born.

And in the words of the famous hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Out of the sorrow, is birthed new life, new hope, new surrender.

And all else set aside……

  It is well, it is well with my soul.

Thank you, Father, for never leaving or forsaking us!

~T

 

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14 thoughts on “Out Of The Sorrow

  1. What a wonderful tribute to Papa! And what a joyous time when Kevin accepted Jesus Christ! And what a coincidence that you mentioned “It is Well.” My own mother passed away May 15, 2009, after 108 days in a hospital. I prayed and prayed during her illness for her return to ‘wellness.’ But when our God decided it was time for her eternal rest, instead of crying ‘why God’ (which I would have done before becoming a Christian!), this wonderful song came to mind. I asked for her to be well again, and He answered my prayer! Blessings to you, Dale, and your family as you adjust to an earthly life without him.

  2. What a beautiful story and epilogue to the journey you all have made. Kevin’s profession of faith is so inspiring; surely Papa is watching over all of you and smiling. Blessed assurance, and amen to your touching words.

  3. Oh Tonya, last week it was tears of sadness and grief I shed for you all. Now it is tears of joy I shed over the return of a prodigal son. Isn’t it amazing how God gives us these tears to shed when our emotions just come overflowing out of our hearts. Thank you for filling my heart with joy this morning. What a special Easter blessing for everyone.

  4. This is one of your best ones!!!

    This can be applied to so many areas of life.

    Well done “good and faithful servant.”

    ~Janice

  5. Love this! Don was a good man. My husband has very fond memories of hunting him. A father figure in the short time we got to know him. Blessings of peace & grace to your family as you continue to live out how well it all is in Jesus. ♡

  6. It is so wonderful to see how God uses all things for His good! As you have been sharing your journey of your father-in-law I was curious about his “adopted parents”. Is this a common thing in their church or did he just have that type of relationship with them? The reason I ask is because I have been thinking a lot about mentoring and how it is often missing in the church today and I found his relationship with them to be very interesting especially as the pictures show it is evident they were a big part of his life. I long for the church to be that for one another in a more intentional way and I was curious if his church already has a way of doing this or if this just happened to be the type of relationship he had with them. I hope what I am trying to ask is making sense?! 🙂

    • When Grandpa and Grandma Stutzman brought 3 foster children into their oh so conservative Mennonite Church, it just wasn’t done. Their choice to help the fatherless, turned into a movement in that church of adoption that is still going on today! 🙂
      They are the most precious, giving people, and they served in Haiti for YEARS. I loved when they came to visit Don and sang to him and read him the Bible, such a blessing.
      I don’t know if that actually answered your questions, if not, ask again! 🙂

  7. Thank you for sharing God’s Redemptive power in the midst of pain/sorrow/grief. I am sure Papa Don is rejoicing in Heaven!…what joy!

  8. Praise the Lord! And thank you for sharing the song and the story behind it. I’ve heard it before, and got a little charm recently that says “It is well with my soul.” Instead of wearing a cross, it’s my “word” talisman to remind me that even in the midst of all that life and Satan have to throw at us, God is still in control. ❤

  9. What a great testimony in a time of grief. I was feeling all sorts of emotions. Thank you for sharing. You are a blessing!!

  10. Pingback: There Is A Hospital Bed In My Living Room | 4 little Fergusons

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