Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves
so that we would not trust in ourselves,
but in God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:9
On the morning of July 11, 1997, my husband and I sat in the living room of a friend’s home as he read 2 Corinthians 1:9 aloud. I had no idea why God had told him in the middle of the night to share it with us.
Six hours later, I knew. Our son, Kevin, had broken his neck. The doctor gave him little hope for survival. He tried to talk us into pulling the plug on the ventilator that kept Kevin alive. Kevin, however, didn’t plan to die. And we had no plans to make him die. Instead, churches in Canada and the United States banded together to offer prayer and financial support. The Salvation Army arranged to fly him back to the United States. Back home, Kevin began a long and arduous journey—learning how to live in a broken body. Doctors may have given him a death sentence, but he learned to trust in a God who raises the dead.
The years following his injury have been a long winter for us, much like the freeze that descends upon the garden outside our house every year. We walk through the dead plants in the depths of winter, but we’re not alarmed because we know it’s only temporary. We have lived through many winters, and we understand spring is coming. The sun will shine again and our world will awaken to new life.
It’s harder to have that kind of trust through the soul winters, when we bury a parent, a child, a spouse, or a dream. Death is so very cold, so bitterly final.
Coming as close to losing Kevin as we did, I have often thought about what Jesus’ mother felt as she watched her Son die. His life began with such promise. He seemed destined for greatness. This much God revealed to her.
What she didn’t know was that His great destiny was to suffer. Thirty years after His birth, she stood helplessly at the foot of the cross and watched Him hang in agony between heaven and earth as if He belonged in neither. How was it possible to see any of God’s goodness in the pit of such a loss? How many times have I been there?
As I grieved for all Kevin lost, I thought of what Mary must have mourned. Her firstborn would never know the love of a wife, the cry of His own child, or the comfort of a home. Only later would she understand He gained a Bride, many children for His Father, a family of sisters and brothers, and an everlasting kingdom.
During those few dark days when her dreams were dead, Mary could not see what we know today. We have the advantage of living out our seasons on this side of the cross, of reading God’s unfolding revelation in His Word. That alone should give us courage.
Death is not forever. It’s just a season. And because God is Lord of the seasons, He’s not worried. He’s been through this winter. The Master walks through His garden, knowing the loss we experience is only temporary because He’s been to the grave, and He came back with the keys to death and life.
He’s the God who raises the dead. He’s the One who commands the spring to sing in joyous triumph. When a chill wraps our hearts, we can rejoice in the knowledge that spring always comes.
This is our hope. And hope is a powerful thing.
Join the conversation by adding your comments below.
When was a time when God gave you hope in a seemingly hopeless situation?
by Pam Thorson
Pam was born at the Millington Naval Base outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the first child of a Wisconsin navy seaman and a Southern belle. Her early life was marked by many moves around the country as her father pursued a career in broadcasting. After traveling throughout the deep South and the Pacific Northwest, the family finally settled on the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) reservation in Idaho. Pam met her wonderful husband during college, set her roots down deep along the banks of the Clearwater River, and happily began a home and family. Pam and Aaron educated all five of their children at home. They began homeschooling in 1982 and graduated their youngest daughter in 2006. Pam and Aaron have been married forty-one years. They have five grown children, two sets of precious in-laws, and two beautiful granddaughters. Pam has long loved to write. She began writing for the local college newspaper and homeschooling group. Later she authored many devotionals for her church and an article for Evangel. In 2008 she wrote Song in the Night, the true account of her son’s injury in Canada, their fight to keep the doctors from pulling the plug, and the subsequent journey back home. Her second book is due for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in early 2014. In 2000, Pam became certified as a nurses’ aide to care for their injured son. She and her family have operated a certified family home licensed by the state of Idaho since 2000. In 2011, she completed the practical nurse program at Walla Walla Community College and earned her license as an LPN. Her conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1975 set her on a journey with her Savior spanning nearly four decades. Her love for and devotion to life has come from this association with her Creator. Pam adores her husband, her family, and friends. She enjoys her beautiful little log home, good coffee, the sound of the river at night, and just about any kind of Christian music.