December 11, 2013 - Serious Struggles

I didn’t know Mack very well—he was almost a stranger to me.

Man praying in tunnel

So it took me by surprise when he said, “tell me how it feels.” I stared at him, wondering if he had mistaken me for someone else. But his red, swollen eyes assured me I was the one he sought.

To be certain I understood, I asked him to explain. He was quick to reply. “Tell me how it feels to lose the woman you love.” He fumbled with what appeared to be a keychain, as he nervously awaited my response.

I asked him if he was a follower of Christ. At first, he shook his head “no” without looking away, and then he fixed his eyes on the floor.

I explained that you have to start there to understand what it felt like to lose the woman you love. But he didn’t want to talk about God or Christ, or anything religious.

“Okay then, Mack . . . here’s how it is; if you don’t know Christ, then losing your wife is the most hopeless thing imaginable. You give your life to a woman just to grow close to her, and then she’s gone. It makes no sense, and there is a hole in your heart that will never be filled with anything or anyone else. You’ll ache every day and fall asleep in despair. When you wake up, each morning will be filled with fresh pain and heartache, and it will be meaningless.”

Mack appeared horrified. His mouth hung open and he had no words with which to express his feelings.

I continued, “Now if you want to know how it feels with Christ in your heart, that is a different story. Instead hopelessness, there is great hope. Marriage is designed by God to represent the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church. Every day you spend with your wife is filled with meaning, and although you will miss her desperately when she dies, you know she has gone on before you to be with Christ in Heaven. The hole she leaves in your heart is filled with treasures of your life with her, and with Christ. He is there at night when you go to bed, and each morning you will awake to His peace that soothes your pain. So it makes a difference, Mack, if you know Christ or if you don’t.”

Mack thought about it for a moment before saying, “She’s going to die before Christmas.”

I swallowed hard as he briefly looked out the window and collected his emotions. Mack is 30 years old and his wife is younger. He turned back to me.

“Okay . . . tell me more about Jesus.”

Remember Mack (not his real name). He is going to lose his wife, in less than a week.