Loss, Peace, and the Folly of Running Away

Just 19 years ago on Saturday, I lost my dad to the “C” word.

I was about 12 years old. It was an otherwise…normal night.

My mom had just put me down for my bed in my red, double-bunk bed.

(I’m an only child…but since I was a tad bit spoiled, I had the bunk bed I had always wanted.)

At this point in time my parents had been divorced for around a decade.

My dad, God bless him, had been more through more girlfriends than I could count. At least it seemed like a lot to me.

However, my father was very blessed to have met and married to my stepmom, Amy, before his struggle with cancer ever began.

Now—let’s be clear, here. Me and Amy are worlds apart in terms of worldview. We are both opinionated, quite often on the opposite view, and we barely talk.

When I was young, the issues were about whether or not I should eat broccoli. Today, the issues are different. Right now, none of that is important.

What IS important is I watched my stepmom walk with my dad into and through the trial of his life. I can never forget that—she was and is an amazing person, and my dad was fortunate to have her.

But that night—mom came into the room after I had been asleep and woke me up. She said, “we need to talk about something.”

I knew, though.

I will never claim that I was a smart kid, but I certainly wasn’t an idiot. I preempted her.

Is it about dad?

“Yes,” she said.

Did he die?

She was silent, and nodding in agreement.

She loved my dad…they had drifted apart and, as I mentioned, had not been together for around a decade. But…she still had a special place in her heart for him. She never really wanted it to end.

And there we were. A strong, churchgoing family. Strong in our faith. In church when the doors were open. Even more than that since I attended Christian school at the same church week in and week out.

It was weird…I was very upset; yet, I knew it was going to be okay.

Fast forward 19 years…my birthday is coming up in November. This puts me at 31—a measly 7 years from the age of my dad when he died of Leukemia/Pneumonia.

Life does not prepare you for things like this—but God’s Word does.

Another brief story: Last night at church, the guest preacher described his own tragedy…2 years ago, he lost his 30-year-old son (who had a beautiful wife and kids) to a freak accident…a vehicle fell off of the jack stands while he was working on it.

Life. Gone. In an instant.

He and I share something in common. In the midst of tragedy, we ran to God…not away.

That’s not to brag; no…that is NOT the point at all. Please.

The fact is…if you’re to have any hope…where else can you go?

Honestly—you can either run into the arms of Jesus or away from them…into a cold world that will chew you up, spit you out, and all in the sneaky disguise of self-interest.

You might be tempted to think you are doing something bold…to “run” when tragedy strikes. But you aren’t.

The Scriptures boldly declare that tragedy is not only possible, but inevitable.

Jesus said tribulation is coming. Peter said to stand up and defend your faith…in the midst of suffering, don’t back down; give an answer!

The preacher last night uttered a line that resonated with me:

The valleys of our lives are designed to bring us closer to the shepherd.

If you believe in a God who can—and did—bring life into existence out of nothing, then you can believe in a God who can turn your mess into your message, and your greatest trouble into your greatest triumph.

Loss, though painful and inevitable, is the opportunity to seek God’s peace in a way that you have never experienced.

Should, God forbid, we experience more loss than we can bear…let us cast our burdens on him.

If you are struggling with how to make sense of a situation like this, I totally get it. I literally feel your pain. I dedicated chapters 13 and 14 of my book Truth Be Told to understanding how to make sense of evil and suffering in God’s world.

It would be amazing to hear that these chapters helped you overcome—or prepare for—a situation like this.

You can grab a copy here: www.SteveSchramm.com/TBT

Enduring Together, Steve