Comfort through the Heartaches of Life
By Toma Knight
On April 6, 1989, three weeks before the due date of our firstborn son (Cliff Lamar Knight, Jr.), I called my doctor to let him know that I hadn’t felt the baby move in a few days. He told me to drink a Coke and see if that would get him to move. Still no movement. He then told me to come into his office so they could do an ultrasound and check to make sure the baby’s heart was beating. They moved the monitor around several times before giving us the heartbreaking news. The nurse told us that the baby had no heartbeat and had died. The news was devastating, but we felt the Lord with us in that moment of despair.
Before going to the doctor, I had prayed that the Lord would prepare us for whatever news we heard. My husband and I determined beforehand that we were going to trust the Lord with whatever news we received. Even so, when the devasting news came, we cried out to the Lord for His comfort and peace. In that moment of despair, we had to trust the Lord and His sovereignty. And in the months and years to come, we would learn to trust the Lord in even deeper ways than we did at that time.
As I waited in labor for the baby to be born that I knew I would never take home, the Lord was with me, giving me strength to endure. When he was born, they wrapped him in a blanket to be taken away and later laid in a casket not a bassinette. Through my tears, I felt the Lord there with me. I looked at my precious baby boy, no longer alive, and saw a peaceful smile on his face, as if he were saying to me, “It’s okay, mommy, I am in the arms of Jesus.”
What comfort that thought brought to my hurting heart—knowing that the first face our son ever saw was the face of Jesus! And, oh, what a glorious face all of us who know Him will see one day. My baby boy was safe in the arms of Jesus—at home, where I long to be. As I chose to trust the faithfulness of the Lord when I didn’t understand why things were as they were, He filled me with a peace that was beyond my understanding.
Through His comfort, I learned that the Lord would always be there to comfort and help me through whatever trial I might face.
Heartache as Parents of an Adult Child
On June 4th, 2017, after a very busy Sunday of ministering in our church, we were home settling down for the evening when around 9:00 our doorbell rang. I went to the door, and seeing two policemen, my heart immediately sank. I knew they had not come to bring good news. We have five children and four of them were in different cities and states working. It could be any of them! We were about to receive the news no parent ever wants to hear!
The policemen told my husband that there had been an accident, and we should call the police in Arizona. The police there informed us that our oldest son had died from extreme heat exhaustion after climbing a mountain in Arizona that day. He had been hiking alone and was found by another hiker in an unconscious state. By the time medical help arrived, he had already died. In the midst of this heartbreaking news, I felt the strong presence of the Lord being with me once again. He held and comforted us like no other could. We did not understand why—and we never will this side of heaven—yet our hearts were trusting the goodness and sovereignty of God.
Ben had just graduated from Alabama State University with a doctorate in physical therapy. He was in Arizona doing his last clinical before beginning his career as a physical therapist. He had worked so hard and loved people so well. He would have been a great PT! Why the Lord chose to take him before he ever got to do what he had prepared to do, we do not know. But one thing we do know is that God has an eternal plan in all the events of our lives. There are so many questions that we will never have answered, and we have learned to be okay with that. We have learned to trust in the sovereignty of God as we continue to move forward and to seek to honor Him with our lives. We know that He is faithful in all things and does no wrong. So we trust in the One who gave the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us, and we find peace even in the midst of tragedy. He is the One who carries us through the heartaches of each day and enables us to use our story to point others to Him. Ben is—and always will be—greatly missed! His memory will always be in our hearts! We will honor him by using the story of his life and death to point others to Jesus, the Solid Rock on whom we stand. May the Lord continue to use our brokenness to draw us ever closer to Himself.
God is Forever Faithful!
Losing a loved one is always so hard, the separation so painful, the missing so hurtful. It’s hard to carry on without them, wishing they were with us, experiencing life with us. But we must continue to move forward as the days and years go by with our eyes fixed on Jesus. Instead of focusing on the “what might have been,” we must train our hearts to focus on the sweet memories and times we did have with them. We can use the truths the Lord has taught us and the comfort He has given us to comfort others. As we share our stories, we share God’s faithfulness.
Because we live in a fallen world, Christians will go through trials that cause heartache and pain. But we have a Comforter and Helper who goes with us through these trials of life—One who gives us strength to carry on. Jesus won the victory over death when He died on the cross for our sins, and through His resurrection, He gives us eternal life. Thus we have a living hope that one day all things will be made right. There will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more sickness, no more sin, no more heartache, no more death. Oh, what a glorious day it will be when all things are made new!
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1–2).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).