The Night That Changed Our Lives
On Monday, October 17th, six years ago just before midnight Dawn and I found our daughter, Hannah on the floor in her bedroom. Her lips were blue and she was not breathing. We tried to resuscitate her, but we were not successful. We also called 911 and the paramedics arrived soon after, but they couldn’t revive her.
I still remember when the woman came downstairs and told me that they did all they could, but unfortunately they were not able to save our daughter. I was in shock. Numb. Dawn was crying, but I didn’t even know how to react. There’s nothing in life that can prepare you for such a horrendous experience.
Since it was 6 years ago this year the day that it falls on is the same, because we found her on Monday, October 17th. They pronounced her deceased on the 18th, and that is what her death certificate reads. Obviously these are difficult dates for our family.
Yesterday I was sitting in church getting ready to share about a short term missions trip to Mexicali, Mexico and I started remembering all that happened 6 years ago on the days leading up to Hannah’s move to heaven.
On Saturday the 15th six years ago we finished building a church that we were helping to plant in Rosarito, Mexico. On Sunday the church held their inaugural service. I wasn’t able to attend, because Hannah wasn’t doing well. That evening, Sunday evening we had some friends come over to pray with us for Hannah. It was a special experience, but we were concerned for Hannah, although we didn’t think she was in danger of dying.
Then Monday evening we experienced the worst pain that we’ve ever experienced.
The Pain and Sorrow of Death
As I mentioned before I never thought too much about how horrible death was until Hannah died. I used to think for a Christian it’s not so bad, because now they are in heaven. Of course, it is true that we have the hope of heaven and it is a sure hope. Yet, our loving Heavenly Father created the world perfect and without death. Death did not enter the world until man fell in sin. Sin ushered in death and pain.
I don’t want to belabor that point, but it’s helped me to understand that God created the world perfect, and there was no death in Eden.
Other points that have helped me in my grief is Jesus’s life and experience with Lazarus. Jesus wept when Lazarus died, which has always puzzled me. Jesus who knows what heaven is like more than anyone that has ever lived cried when his friend died. He cried even though he knew the glory and perfection of heaven. He wept even though he knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.
Why did Jesus cry?
I think he wept at least in part, because he loved his friend and he hated how sin affected Lazarus and man.
Hope as We Wait
We struggle to understand how terrible sin is and how it corrupted man and God’s once perfect creation. Paul teaches us that all of creation groans until the day of redemption. We eagerly await for God’s powerful and loving plan of redemption to be fulfilled.
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”Romans 8:20-25 ESV (emphasis mine)
Paul speaks of the groaning as we wait along with creation for our liberation from the bondage to corruption. We wait in hope. I give thanks for this hope. God is so good to give us hope. What would we do without hope? Biblical hope is speaking of a sure thing. It’s not maybe yes, maybe no. It’s a sure hope.
Another passage that Paul wrote that has encouraged me since Hannah moved to heaven is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”1 Thessalonians 4:13 ESV
We grieve. It is sad 😢. Yet we have hope, we don’t grieve like those without hope. Thank Jesus for the Hope that we have in Christ!
Our loving Father continues to bring us healing, and He uses our suffering. We’ve seen the Lord give us many opportunities to minister and love people who experience loss and pain. We are more able to weep with those who weep.
You Have Turned My Mourning into Dancing
Just last week a new friend gave me a word of encouragement. He told me that our tears will turn to joy. I thank the Lord for the promises that He gives me. Hope in Christ is one of the most important things that has sustained me during these years since Hannah moved to heaven. In Psalm 30 the Psalmist says that the Lord changed my mourning into a joyous dance and he took off my mourning clothes and clothed me with joy. I know that many, the vast majority of us have lost someone close, a loved one – maybe your dad, your mom, your brother or sister or a child or someone else that you were close to and it’s not easy. Only God has the power to sustain you. Only God can comfort you. Only God can take off your mourning clothes and clothe you with joy.
One of my prayers and one of the desires that I have for my life and that of my family and for you too is that God is restoring what we have suffered, that God is redeeming what we have lost. And I trust that my Papa God hears my requests and He answers my cry. And He does the same for you. That is why our mourning will turn into joy.
“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”Psalm 30:4-5, 10-12 ESV
We do praise the Lord and we will give thanks to him forever. I do not doubt God’s goodness. There’s much that I don’t understand. There are mysteries too high for me to grasp, but I don’t doubt my loving Father. I don’t doubt His goodness and His loving care for my family and me!
Hannah loved the work that we do. She loved ministering with us. She prayed for the pastors we work with. We are raising funds right now to support our two church plants in Mexicali. We continue to support our familia on the Big Island well.
You can make a gift to support these works in memory of our daughter, Hannah by clicking on the link below. Thank you for praying for our family and considering this request!
In His Grip, Dave
P.S. Help take the gospel to the Border, the Baja and Beyond