Thursday, November 2, 2023

Brief Reflections on Being Widowed for a Decade

For 63 years I have loved the Bible. When I was 8, upon my conversion, I was given a Schofield King James Bible. Today I read my well-worn Greek New Testament. It is my love for the Bible that has undergirded my entire Christian life. It was love of the Scriptures that prompted me to leave my home in Hawaii for California in 1971. It resulted in my attending Biola, Talbot, and then the University of Basel. A week never passes when I do not thank God for the biblical education I received at these schools. It was during these years that I cultivated a strong desire to teach the Bible, and for 47 years I have been engaged in doing just that. What a relief to have had the Bible to turn to when I've needed spiritual direction or supernatural comfort, as I did 10 years ago today when Becky passed from earth to heaven. In recent years I have discovered that it is the word of God, more than anything else, that I return to whenever I need a fresh and relevant touch of God's grace. I confess without hesitation that, without God's word in my life, I would have never been able to cope with grief as well as I have. Added to that is the wonderful fact that for 10 years I have been the constant recipient of the love, support, and encouragement of both my family and friends like you. You have endeared yourselves to me in more ways than I can describe. 

Of course, I must also thank the love of my life, Becky, who understood my strong love for the Bible and my insatiable desire to study it and teach it to others. Never did she once fail to urge me to do my best and to remain faithful to God's calling on my life. Her own commitment to excellence and love for Christ combined to prod me to develop an authentic, contagious walk with God. And now, with her memory ever before me, it is my joyful duty to encourage our children and grandchildren to pursue this same lofty goal and to follow the Lord with all their hearts. The God who is Light (1 John 1:5) wants them to walk in the Light, to enjoy constant closeness with him, and to strive for righteousness by his Spirit. Above all, I hope my kids and grandkids will remember that the distinguishing mark of a Christian is that he or she has Christlike love for others. Their mother and grandmother modeled well that love for them, and for that I will be eternally grateful. 

Becky Lynn, when we were married 47 years ago, little did we realize how glorious -- and hard -- life would be. 

As I recall our joys and sorrows, I am so glad that we both understood there was grace available to us. As I look back on your homegoing a decade ago, I realize that at the time, that grace was disguised by the sorrow and pain of losing you. Thankfully, the story did not end there. Hope has replaced despair. Suffering has become a refinement. I have found a new depth in my relationship with God. I've also developed a commitment to living life more fully. I know you would be pleased with these developments. The God of strength, comfort, courage, and hope is with me today just as he was with you 10 years ago when I held your hand for the last time. One day we'll say hello again. Until then, I will claim Jesus' promise: "I tell you the truth, you will grieve and weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy" (John 16:20). 

I love you sweetheart. How I look forward to being united again someday.