This post is part of the series Personal Testimonies
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? It is my prayer that the following personal testimony of my father’s recent journey with loss, grief, and healing will be an encouragement to you, that you will see that no matter what, the Lord loves and cares for you deeply. Everyone’s journey through grief is unique, but if you give your heart and life over to Him, you will discover that the Lord has plans for you and your future. ~Jacquelyn
“The Lord your God in your midst, the mighty will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”Zephaniah 3:17
I want to thank my daughter, Jacquelyn, for allowing me to share an unique experience that will always be a blessing in my life and a loving reminder that, no matter what trial we may endure, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us!
Before I can jump into this amazing encounter of the infinite love of our God, I have to share with you the background story so it will all make sense. Come with me as we go back to September 2018.
This was a difficult time… I was loosing my wife to cancer.
I could do nothing but pray and praise the Lord for the time He had given me and my family with this most wonderful woman, who loved the Lord with all her heart and mind. She was at home on hospice care, and we had an amazing team of nurses that took such loving care of my dear wife. They took care of me as well.
From August to September, my wife, Lynne, was able to rest and see anyone who wanted to visit. During this time, she did not eat and her fluid intake was minimum at best.
One of the many scriptures we clung to was Jeremiah 17:14, which tells us: “Heal me, O’ Lord and I shall be healed; Save me and I shall be saved for You are my praise.” Jesus granted – or should I say “saved” us – this precious time to spend with Lynne. During this time, she also encouraged everyone that came to visit to always to love and trust in Christ.
On 27 September 2018, my dear sweet wife and best friend passed. When she took her last breath, she was in complete peace and just fell asleep in the arms of Jesus! My appreciation of the love of the Father changed from a “wow” to a million times “wow”!
Before Lynne died, we had made a future date to meet under the Tree of Life for a family reunion with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Lynne had done her part. Her journey in this world was completed, but now my journey had changed from being two – a couple – to being one.
So what was I to do?
I prayed that the Lord would use me in any way He wanted and that I was His vessel. I knew I was broken and not worthy, but I prayed: “Lord use me and send me where you need me and I will go.”
The weeks passed. Then months. And it was tough. Then in March 2019, It Is Written came to the Phoenix area for a weekend revival and to help the local churches prepare for a big evangelistic series scheduled for the fall of 2019. I attended the kick off of the campaign and also the last night’s presentation.
I was interested in helping out the evangelistic effort, but I had no idea that the Lord had something even more amazing in store for me. He reserved me a place as part of a mission trip to the Philippines.
I just love it when the Lord brings His word to our level of understanding. Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” And this scripture was fulfilled that night.
You see, the individual leading the Philippines mission trip, Pastor Glenn, was seated next to me at the presentation. He needed one more main speaker for his team. Others had been invited but declined. He gently leaned toward me and told me that the Holy Spirit has brought to his mind that he must ask me to be part of his evangelistic team for the Philippines.
I was dumbfounded. I had prayed for the Lord to use me but the Philippines? And to be a main speaker?
My initial thoughts went to my all of my faults, failures, and disqualifications, but I knew that I could rely on the Lord’s strength. His words from Philippians 4:13 came to mind. I truly believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and He would give me His messages, the messages that needed to be spoken to the people in the Philippines.
How could I deny the Lord when He continued to shower my family and I with unprecedented blessings? All of these thoughts quickly flashed through my mind, and I responded with: “Yes, I will be honored to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
When mid-May arrived, the mission team met in Los Angelos, and together we flew non-stop to Manila, Philippines. Our first week was spent on the Island of Mindoro sharing the Gospel of Christ with the people there. The last week, we repeated our messages in Laguna (just south of Manila). It was in Laguna that I had one of many wonderful encounters of the mystery of God working in folks who hungered for the His Word.
The messages that the Lord impressed upon me to share included my personal loss with focus on His amazing love and to encourage the people that we cannot stop God from loving us.
On the third night of sharing the mighty and infinite love of the Lord in Laguna, the number of people attending started to grow.
There was one particular individual, Ray*, who came up to talk with me about how God showers us with His love – especially in times of loss. He has saddened that I had lost my wife to cancer, and he shared with me his mourning for his brother and, more recently, for his mother. We both had tears but they were tears of joy because we knew that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and that He promised to reunite us with our dear ones who are asleep in Christ.
It was then that God’s Word met us exactly where we were in missing our dear ones and gave us joy instead of mourning. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 says: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Indeed, these words did comfort us! We hugged, praising our Lord that one day He will wipe away every tear and we shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever! I later found out that Ray had fallen away from church, and everyone was so happy that he had come to one the meetings. He was not judged because of his lack of attendance. He was welcomed and loved unconditionally.
Yet I was the one who was truly blessed on this healing night! I met a brother who shed genuine tears for me. I witnessed the Holy Spirit filling this local church and welcoming back a prodigal brother with the love of Christ.
I knew God was in our midst every night, but it was then that I got it. Our Jesus had been singing over us the whole time! Again God’s Word meets us where we are. Zephaniah 3:17 says: “The Lord your God in your midst, the mighty will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
We have an amazing God and we cannot stop Him from loving us! Let us give ourselves to Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit each and everyday. God is good all the time!