Comfort in the midst of terrible sorrow

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Editor’s Note: Extracted from Walking Through Shadows, pages 94–97.

Some time later, Robert told me of a fascinating conversation he had had with Dad. As Dad lay dying in hospital, Robert, who had been sitting with him, had asked him a question. “Dad, why did you have such a love for the Word of God? What was it that caused you to stand so strongly on God’s Word?” . . .

. . .Rob then told me that Dad said that, when he was only 16 years old, his father had died. Because of this, as a young lad, Dad said that because he no longer had an earthly father to turn to, therefore he turned to his Heavenly Father and read His Word over and over again. As I listened, I became rather choked up. Yes, it made sense. Dad seemed to be always reading the Bible—he really loved God’s Word.

I’ve recalled these events in my mind many times over the past years and certainly numerous times as I thought about what had happened to Rob. As I pondered these things in my heart, something became very clear to me-something that has been of great comfort in the midst of terrible sorrow.

When my father’s father died, I’m sure those close to the situation would have grieved greatly. Maybe some may have even commented that it didn’t seem fair that a young lad like my Dad would be left on this earth without his father. Maybe some might even have been angry at God, or perhaps some might have mocked Christians who believed in a holy, loving, and just God in the midst of such a situation.

However, many years later, we can look back and see a picture that probably no one would have even come close to guessing at the time. The situation that caused my father to turn to his Heavenly Father, and intimately get to know His Word, resulted in a godly family who stood on the authority of the Word of God. Rob became a preacher of the Word. I was instrumental in founding a ministry that has grown around the world. Others in the family have been involved in various Christian ministries. All of this put new meaning for me into the verse of Scripture many often quote when tragedy strikes, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). Who would have even thought that out of tragedy almost 60 years ago, a wonderful plan was executed that would result in literally millions hearing the truth of the Word of God-of which Rob had a special part? And there’s no doubt in my mind that I would not be in this international ministry of Answers in Genesis (that reaches multi-thousands of people on a daily basis) if it weren’t for my father’s (and mother’s) stand on the Word of God.

This sparked in my mind. Are there any examples in Scripture that might illustrate this as well?

Of course! The historical account of a very famous lady named Esther. In the Book of Esther in the Bible we read about King Ahasuerus and how he was displeased with the actions of his queen. Because of this, he began a search for a new queen-eventually choosing Esther, a beautiful young lady. The king was initially unaware that Esther was a Jewess, but as we read this fascinating event in the history of the Jews, we find out that all that happened to Esther resulted in the Jewish people being saved from annihilation.

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