The Last Look


It was November and I was in the final process of moving back to my home in North Carolina. Only a few months before my wife of twenty-one years had died in a tragic single vehicle accident. My three minor children ages 10 to 16 were with her on that fateful morning and had received no injury at all.

In the weeks following this day one of my children, the youngest had been screaming out in the middle of the night and crying uncontrollably from fear and anguish from the loss of her mother. What to do, I tried to pray and could not for my own broken heart kept getting in the way. I had continued to preach to my congregation, but without my heart and soul being in the preparation or delivery of the sermons. To stand in the pulpit and not be able to look at the right side of the auditorium, without my heart breaking as I would see her empty spot on the pew, was a almost more than I could bear.

What to do? Lord where are you? Why have you taken my friend , my lover, my soul mate, the mother of my babies, why, God Why?

We were saved at the same time and went forward to the altar hand in hand, O-God why did you leave me here?

I remember taking all our special little night time garments and going into the edge of a forest behind my church and building a small fire and weeping as I fed each article of clothing in to the flame. Why did you let this awful thing happen Lord?

Everywhere I visited as a pastor, people would try to feed me coffee and pie and cake, but I could not eat, I lost 29 pounds in thirty days.

My congregation had loved us and been very kind and understanding when I made the announcement that I was resigning and leavening the area.

We arrived back in the town of my origin and moved in with my widowed mother until I could fine a place of our own. The children were enrolled in school and my mother still worked a fulltime job. I had some money and no need to work and besides I don't think I could have given a good day's work for a day's wage.

Where are you God, why have you deserted me? Why, Why, Why, Why?

My days were spent in endless driving around the area and tears rolled down my face constantly when I was alone and I did not wish to be with people. The only contact was with my mother and children and that only because of necessity.

Satan threw everything he could in my path and I must admit I failed. To stop going to church never was a consideration, but it was all mechanical, no worship.

All the family and friends had now gone back to their lives and even in a crowd at church I was alone. Where is God, where is my Saviour, where is the Holy Spirit that I had enjoyed fellowship with for all those years?

Then there came a morning sitting on the back pew in a church and not wanting to be there, I bowed my head and prayed this prayer,

"Dear Lord I cannot go on, I need your touch, I need you hand on my heart. O-God Please Help ME!"

Instantly in a matter of a few seconds my heart's eye was opened to the spirit world. There I saw her, as she was ascending a stairs and at the top of the stairs was a man that glowed so brightly he looked like the sun. I could not see his face, but I knew him instantly, Jesus!

And there was my precious wife that I longed for so desperately. She turned and looked over her left shoulder and said, "Honey I love you, but I cannot come back."

It was over in less time that it took you to read the few lines in this story. But there was something that had stood out about her face. There was a glow and I had never seen her look so beautiful.

Let me digress for a moment and tell you about sitting with her body for about thirty minutes waiting for an ambulance. I had plenty of time to look at my dead wife's face during that time and just above her left eye was a one inch wide and three inch long tear in her forehead. That and a broken neck were the only injuries and the doctors had told me death had come instantly.

But remember, God had her look at me over her left shoulder and the injury was gone!

Why God, I still don't have the answer to that, but I can answer one of my heart's agonizing questions.

Where were you God? The same place He had been during this entire heartbreaking portion of my life. Right in my heart, that I had allowed pain and agony cloud to the point that I could no longer touch Him. Dear readers are you going thru a harsh, agonizing period of your life? Does God seem to be only a concept of religion and not a reality in your heart? Does it seem that He has deserted you? Is impossible to pray and worship? Listen to this one verse that was cried from the Cross of Calvary.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Jesus cried that from Calvary so that you and I would not have to cry it. Jesus took on the physical agony of the cross, but I believe the greatest agony was when He knew that God had turned His face from Him.

The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, graves opened and the dead were seen to be walking and even some of the rocks about the cross were split open. The sun refused to shine. Mathew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, Luke 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Can you imagine the awfulness of that time?

Now back to you and I. When in my distress, all I needed was to cast myself on Him and that is all any of us need!

Look at these few verses and answer this, are you willing to cast everything at His feet? If you are, then follow the direction of Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; Now pray this simple prayer and ask God in Jesus name to forgive you from turning your eyes from Him.

Ask the dear Lord to do what these verses tell us. Psalms 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalms 51:11 "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me." Psalms 51:12 "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit."

Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

God will open your eyes to His grace and He will strengthen you as He has me and then when this agony we call life is past, He will welcome us home with nail scared hands opened wide. Romans 8:23 "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:24-25 "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."

God bless each of you!

James Avery jamesaveryfwb@embarqmail.com

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