Warning, this is a long detailed story, but if I leave out the details you will not understand the depth of my transformation and my faith. This past Saturday we celebrated my husband’s 50th birthday. He wanted to participate in a local triathlon in the morning before we planned to take our girls and son in love to an apple orchard. The girls didn’t want to leave so early in the morning so they planned to meet us there at the end of the triathlon. 11am rolled around and the girls hadn’t arrived. To top it off, we were in a hole – no cell phone reception. 11:20am arrived, still no children. So we decided that we needed to go out of the lake area up to the entrance of the park and hope to get cell service there. We needed gas and there was a gas station at the entrance. If our phones still didn’t work, maybe we could find someone who would let us use their phone.
So we drove up, got gas and finally got a phone signal. We called all three of their phones and none of them answered. We left voice messages on each phone as to where we were and asking them to call us.
In the middle of one of the calls, I received an incoming call from a cousin. Within a minute of ending my call, the cousin called again. “Sheri, is everything ok? My husband (who is a policeman in our town) said they received a 911 call from a phone registered to Brad.” She didn’t know which of our three numbers it originated from. While I was speaking with her, Brad was listening to a voice message from the 911 dispatcher. He called them back and was talking directly to them. The call came from little bit’s phone. Back in our home town, our cousin policeman went to our house to check to make sure everything was ok. The garage door was open, my van was there and the other car was out front. This told us what vehicle the kids were in – at least the police could be looking for that specific car. One patrolman drove past the location that the 911 call was sent from and didn’t see any vehicle accident. Another patrolman came to our location at the gas station.
He and my husband decided to return to the lake area where the kids were supposed to meet us. Since we had no reception there, maybe they didn’t either. Maybe they were there waiting on us. I decided to stay put at the gas station in case the kids had heard the voice messages and came there.
As I sat there by myself, waiting, my thoughts were playing out every possible scenario in rapid fire succession. They had left our house, but why was the garage door left open. Did they leave in a hurry? Why would all three of them not answer and not return our calls? What would have been so terrible that little bit called 911 and then couldn’t respond or speak with them?
Time to pray. Lord, my anxiety is raising its ugly head. I will not fear. I will take Your courage and trust You with this outcome. Lord please don’t take all of our children on my husband’s birthday! Please Lord, please spare one of them, I don’t think I can handle losing all of them at once.
Then peace….His great peace.
Regardless of the outcome, God was with me. Regardless of my grief, God is still good. I could endure whatever came my way because I walk with God, because I know Jesus.
WOW. That was a whole new level of faith for me. I sat there praising my God not knowing the fate of my children and my only grandchild. I sat there trusting God and resting in Him. For so many years my prayers have been “not my children”…Lord you may have my life, my all, do as You wish with me but don’t let harm come to my children. Don’t let the evil one take them as he did with Job. Not my children Lord, not my children. I’ve watched others bury their children, and it just tore my heart out. I couldn’t understand how they could take their next breath. That grief is life altering.
So much in life can be life altering. Christians are not immune to difficulties, loss and trial. God is still God, He is always good, He is always with us. I don’t know where my children are. They aren’t where they are supposed to be. But God knows where they are and He is with me. I trust Him. I trust Him even with my children. I can say that with confidence now.
So the ending of the story. I’ll tell you from their side. They traveled to the town where the race was to be held but they weren’t in the location of the race at the lake. The address we had given them did not come up on their GPS. They stopped to ask several people how to get to the triathlon. This caused them to be late. They apparently missed us as they drove in on one road while we were driving out on another road. Once we got reception, they were not in the dead zone at the lake. They looked around for us and couldn’t find us nor our car. They asked a policeman to help them. He had been in contact with the other officers that were helping us look for them. At this point the kids had no idea that they had called 911. Apparently little bit’s phone has a panic auto dial for 911. If you press random buttons in quick succession, the phone automatically dials for you. She had dropped her phone in her purse and apparently buttons were getting pushed. The officers held the kids at the pavilion until Brad and the other officer arrived.
They followed Brad back out to the gas station and picked me up. The rest of our day was delightful. Not because everything went perfectly, but because we had a greater perspective. What might have been, wasn’t!
There may come a day when we must bury our children. I don’t know what God has in store for our lives. I do know that God just showed me how deep my trust in Him has grown.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 ESV)
Father God, I pray for all those who have had to bury their children. I pray that You will give them the peace You gave to me on Saturday. Flood them with Your love and Your comfort. Help them to breathe. Strengthen their faith. Help them to rest in the knowledge of Your goodness. Amen.
What is it in your life that you do not trust in God’s hands?
Walk with Him and tell Him about it. Ask Him to strengthen your faith so that you can let go and trust Him.
Be encouraged. Press on.