August 23, 2018
When the Hurt Is Horrible
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)
Friend to Friend
Danita experienced a tragic loss. Her husband Dave was a military officer stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. An avid runner, he was the picture of good health. Over six feet tall, his tanned, athletic build never failed to take Danita’s breath away.
Like every other married couple they had their issues, but strived to live together as one. Early on their household was surrendered to the Lord. Faith, friendship, and fun were the foundations of their home and the cement that held them together during difficult times.
In October 2003, Dave had been wrestling with some issues of spiritual surrender about the possible relocation of their family. At their Wednesday night church service, God got ahold of Dave’s heart, and he couldn’t wait to tell Danita about it. When they sat down after putting the girls to bed, he told her he'd turned the details of his new orders over completely to God and was finally at peace.
The next morning, Dave woke before the sun and began his morning routine while Danita slept. Just before he left to go to work, Dave tenderly kissed Danita. As their lips met, he whispered, “Goodbye. I love you, babe,” then walked out the door.
If only Danita had known that would be their last kiss. She would have pulled him close, held him tight, and gazed into his amazing blue eyes. She would’ve taken a long, deep breath to fill her senses with the aroma of his cologne, taken in his presence, and savored his warmth. She would have told him she loved being his wife and was ready for their next great adventure together.
When the phone rang at 7:30 a.m., Danita was startled. It seemed a bit early for the phone to ring. A secretary from the naval base said, “Dave has collapsed! The military EMS have been called, and we need you to meet them at the hospital!”
The words pierced Danita’s heart.
The drive to the hospital was quick. She ran inside the emergency room, only to find that the ambulance hadn't arrived yet. As she hurried back to the parking lot, a passage of Scripture flooded her mind. Danita began to speak Psalm 63 out loud.
As soon as she spoke the words, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you,” Danita knew in her heart Dave was gone. Her soul felt it.
Minutes later, a screaming siren announced the arrival of the ambulance. As the medics ushered Dave into the emergency room and worked feverishly to resuscitate him, Danita rushed to be by his side. An emergency room nurse pulled her away and insisted she sit in the waiting room.
Friends arrived, but Danita couldn’t speak. She sat silently, as every fiber of her being screamed, This can’t be happening! Dave is a rock. He’s a healthy man. He’s too young to die! Lord, please don’t let him die!
Before long, Danita was called to the back where an emergency room doctor told her Dave had died. The weight of those words hit her with the impact of a bullet shot at pointblank range.
She asked her best friend to come back with her to the room where Dave had just been pronounced dead. Danita spoke to her husband through shaky sobs as his body lay lifeless. She touched his skin. The warmth was gone. She kissed him on the cheek and held his hand one last time. Dave was with the Lord now.
Danita needed fresh air. She needed to think, to pray, and to wail.
It all seemed so crazy. She'd arrived at the hospital a happily married woman and was leaving a heartbroken widow. She navigated through the foggy crowd of supportive friends, made her way to her car, and headed home.
The drive home was almost too much for Danita to bear. The sun shone brightly as she passed cars filled with people going on at the speed of life while her life stood still.
Once home, she headed straight to her bedroom. She cried out to God, “How will I tell Kelsey that she'll never see her daddy again?” And He answered her. A devotional she'd been reading the night before lay open on the bedside table. Highlighted on the page were the words of Psalm 16.
As devastating as Dave’s death was, there was something special about the security her soul felt as she sobbed. God’s Word attended to her desperate hunger. A strange peace embraced her. Despite the circumstances, her soul was oddly satisfied. She was not alone. She knew her Lord had not abandoned her.
He was with her on the bed as she cried.
He was with her on the wood floor when she fell to weep.
He was with her in this very broken time.
Danita’s appetite for God’s provision has skyrocketed. She’s never known a greater need for God’s strength to come alongside her weakness. For His hope to come alongside her despair. For His peace to replace her fears.
Through it all, Danita has felt the far-reaching, compassionate, and loving arms of God embrace her in every painful moment. He comforted her each time she cried out to Him in the numbness of despair.
The Lord is aware of your circumstances and your needs too. The Scriptures show us time and time again that God hears the cries of His children. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
What are you hungry for today? God longs to be your portion, to meet your essential needs, to be strong in your weakness, and to satisfy your deepest hunger. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Dear Lord, Please teach me to trust You even when unexpected storms of life come. Help me to remember You are near, hear my cries, and are with me and for me.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
More from the Girlfriends
We’re pleased to announce the new GRACEOLOGY with Gwen Smith podcast! Hang out with Gwen and friends when you go on walks, exercise, run errands or travel. Podcasts are also perfect to listen to as you do household chores! (Laundry anyone?) Each GRACEOLOGY with Gwen Smith podcast episode is filled with fun, faith-focused, grace-filled conversations that will help you know and trust God more. These discussions are going to encourage you in meaningful ways to live out and lean on the GRACE of Jesus in the midst of cluttered, messy days. CLICK HERE to listen on iTunes, or visit GwenSmith.net/Graceology for more information.
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen’s book Broken Into Beautiful. Every step of healing begins with the heart of God. If you’d like to learn more about how your brokenness can be transformed into a picture of God’s beauty, get your copy today.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.