When you are grieving the inevitable loss of someone you care about, it is sometimes hard to see anything other than the pain of grief. Nonetheless, God is there, and no matter how much it hurts, He sends little “gifts” along the way to help ease that pain. This was the all-important final lesson God had for me through the loss of Maman, my precious mother-in-law. I don’t know how many beautiful little “gifts” He sent before I started watching for them, but once we were aboard the aircraft for our transatlantic flight, He finally got my attention…
Although we had booked our flight through Air Canada, and although we held Air Canada tickets in our hands, we were actually aboard a Brussels Air aircraft. What a blessing of God this would turn out to be…
First of all, this particular aircraft had a bit more leg room than most, and for an overseas flight, this is a very good thing. Secondly, we were quite naturally sad; but when the safety demonstration was done with a twist of quirky Belgian humor, it lifted our spirits.
We were only about 45 minutes into our flight when the next blessing came about. The attendants came around with supper trays: “Would you like chicken or fish?” With both of us choosing a vegetarian lifestyle, and with me being intolerant to gluten and dairy, we definitely have to order our meals in advance. In our haste to book our flights, we hadn’t even considered that we would be served supper, and I simply shook my head and assured the flight attendant we had some sandwiches. She looked a bit concerned when she left, and it wasn’t long before another flight attendant stood beside us with a tray: “You need a vegetarian meal?” As he handed me the tray, I instantly noted it was both gluten–and dairy–free. Wait. How did he know? “You wouldn’t happen to have another one, would you?” I asked, indicating my husband’s empty tray table. Moments later, he came back, this time with a lovely pasta dish. Now this man also had no way of knowing our individual dietary needs. How was it that there just “happened” to be two “extra” vegetarian dishes, one that was perfect for each of us?
Perhaps the biggest airline blessing, however, was that our flight was almost empty. This meant that there were many entire rows of empty seats, and as this was an overnight flight, we were each able to have our own “row” to lay down.
It was in all, a flight full of blessings, and all because God knew Air Canada would put us aboard a Brussels Air aircraft.
Once in Brussels, God had yet another blessing for us. The small car we had reserved had been upgraded to a larger one, one that was actually big enough not only for our luggage, but also for our son, who would be arriving in a few days, and his luggage.
The weather was another blessing. Though it was February, the temperatures averaged about 10 degrees C (50 F.). The grass was green, and the trees were ready to burst into bloom. The bulbs were all coming up, and a few of the earliest spring flowers had already begun to blossom. In all, God was painting us a beautiful picture, one that would help distract us from the sad moments ahead.
Our rented room was another gift of God. For only 23 euros per person per night, we had an entire house, complete with washing machine. Our hosts were also wonderful. On our final day, they took us into their home, served us refreshments, and we talked for over an hour.
The list of blessings could go on and on, but perhaps the greatest blessing was that Maman knew we were there and knew who we were. This helped us so much when her status took a turn for the worst the following day. We felt so blessed to have had that one good day and then to have been able to hold her hand and as she went forever to the kingdom of God…
Death. It was never in God’s original, perfect plan; yet because of sin, it is such a part of life. When a loved one dies, it hurts so much; yet God WILL walk with us every step of the way, for He knows how much it hurts to lose a loved one to death. He WILL hold our hand, He WILL hold us up, and as we make the long and painful walk through the valley of grief, He will send us His mercies and blessings every step of the way.
Our job? We are to simply notice His mercies and give Him the praise.
I hope none of you are facing the death of a loved one, but life dictates that likely many of you are doing just that. Remember to watch for God’s blessings and allow Him to get you through, for: “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Ps. 91:2 NLT)
Maman loved God very much, and we have no doubts that she is now with Jesus. She would have wanted nothing more than for the circumstances surrounding her death to be a blessing to other people, and it is for this reason that I have penned this short series. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, pleaseemail me. If you have missed any of the former lessons in the “Maman, Adieu” mini-series, you can access them by clickinghere. Otherwise, email me and I will send them to you. God bless each of you as you go through the difficult valleys that are on your path today.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Maman, Adieu!” mini-series, please click here.)