The Pain Never Goes Away!

Louis RushmoreThis past Sunday I worshipped with the Collierville, TN Church of Christ.  My daughter Rebecca is a longtime member there, virtually a solid fixture. The Collierville congregation is also one of my primary supporters in my labors for Christ, especially as a foreign missionary. I spent a few days with Rebecca – precious family time as well as away time from the confines of my empty, lonely Winona, MS home. My mobile office was in full swing as I worked primarily on a future issue of The Voice of Truth International, but also working on the September edition of Gospel Gazette Online, from her living room. Having no stateside appointment and approximately a month before I head to Asia for two months, I escaped from my middle Mississippi routine. Next week I will be in Alabama and weeks beyond that before my fall mission trip I will be at other congregations in Alabama and Tennessee, speaking to them about mission work. Along the way, I will haul a substantial trove of literature (The Voice of Truth International and tracts mostly) to a shipper in Nashville for shipment to Guyana, South America.

There I was Sunday, worshipping with the Collierville Church of Christ. An elderly Christian brother greeted me in a hallway and shook my hand while offering a word or two of encouragement regarding the loss of my precious wife Bonnie. He confided in me that he had lost his beloved wife ten years earlier.

A little later that day I was sitting in a stuffed chair in the foyer of the meetinghouse while I waited for time for the second worship service to begin. That’s when an old sister in Christ came over to me, leaned over putting her face on mine and wrapping her arms around me. She disclosed that she had lost two husbands and two children over the years. She, likewise, offered her encouragement to me.

Remarkably, both of these Christians without rehearsing or even being aware of the other approaching me gave me the same counsel. They concurred that the pain of surrendering one’s spouse to death, or in the sister’s case add to that the loss of her children, never goes away. Despite that the pain never goes away, they declared, eventually the unbearable pain becomes bearable. I am early in that transition, but nevertheless in transition, moving ever so slowly from the unbearable toward what seems to be the distant bearable. In the meantime, I seek to refine and improve my Christian service and Christian living—losing myself and occupying my mind in activity for my Lord. “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord — how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world — how he may please his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33 NKJV).

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