By David Phillips:
Even as a teenager I loved babies and couldn’t wait to be a father. By the time I was 20, I was married and my wife Anisa and I were expecting our first child. We were overjoyed and waited with great anticipation for the arrival of our son. (An ultrasound had revealed that our baby was a boy.)
Finally it came–the big day that we had so looked forward to for nine months. Finally we would see the face of our dear son. But the Lord had other plans. Complications developed during the delivery, and He took our dear little baby back to be with Him before he drew his first breath.
Unless you’ve lost a child yourself, you can’t imagine the shock, the pain, and the anguish we felt. There were so many thoughts, so many regrets, so many unanswered questions. What had we done to deserve this? Where did we go wrong? Why did God allow this to happen? Was He punishing us for something? Where were we to go from here? Would we ever smile again?
All the while God said, “Trust. Trust in Me that I do all things in love.” But how could we trust when it seemed our whole world had shattered and fallen out from under us?
As the weeks and months passed, I had to decide to either hold on to the hurt or to let my son go, get a grip on life, and start over. Would I let this heartbreaking experience turn me bitter or make me better?
Thanks largely to my friends and family, whose prayers and words of encouragement strengthened me through each trial, I decided to trust God and give my beloved son back to Him. Even though it was still hard for me to understand why God had let such a tragic thing happen, I chose to accept by faith that He had allowed it for a good and loving reason, and that one day I would understand.
As time went on, Anisa and I did find peace in our hearts and we were able to smile once again. We were beginning to see the rainbow after the storm.
During my times of great trial and heartache, the same verse from the Bible had kept coming to mind: “God comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). I see now what I couldn’t see at the time: God broke and then mended my heart in order to give me a greater understanding of what others are faced with.
In the two and a half years since our son went home to Heaven, I have learned many priceless lessons. God used it to soften my heart, and through it He has given me a gift of being able to encourage and comfort others.
He soon brought others across my path who had also recently lost loved ones and, just as the Scripture says, I was able to comfort them with the same comfort with which God had comforted me, by leading them to Him.
I can truly say that although it was a painful experience, it has served to strengthen me and make me a better tool in God’s hands–one that is able to be a blessing to many others who don’t yet know Him and don’t have faith to lean on in their times of great trial.
I am now happily serving the Lord and others in Khon Kaen, a province of northeastern Thailand, with Anisa and our one-year-old daughter. (Yes, the Lord soon blessed us with another child.) I can honestly say with all my heart that it was well worth all the tears and heartache, because through it all I learned to trust in God’s love.
To anyone reading this who has lost a loved one or is going through other severe difficulties I would say, please hold on, no matter how difficult the trial or dark the night. There will soon be light at the end of the tunnel. Look to God and His Word for comfort and strength. He loves you and wants to see you happy again. He’s simply making a better you.