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Sue’s Story — grateful, yet grieving

Pam Luschei

(Photo: Unsplash)

My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 2:19

Familiar words for me as I had learned them very early in my Christian walk. On September 8, 2017, they took on a very deep new meaning.

On August 31 of that year, my husband Roger and I embarked on a month-long trip across the central part of the country. We were going to stop along the way to visit friends and family and do some sightseeing. On September 7, we arrived at our long-time friend’s home in Colorado. Over dinner, our husbands were invited to speed test a Dodge Challenger Hellcat by the owner of the car the following morning. Of course, they thought that a grand idea. It would take place on a small regional airport with the manager’s permission, a safe environment. I later learned these are not uncommon practices. I was opposed to this and voiced my fears, but Roger felt okay with it and I trusted his judgment as he was never the daredevil type, always very cautious.

September 8 presented a beautiful Colorado day and around 8 a.m., I received what was to be my last goodbye kiss on the cheek as the guys headed out. My friend and I always have lots of life to talk about and for 2 hours that is what we did over morning coffee. We decided we had time to do a little shopping before they returned. While we were in a store, she got a phone call. I noticed she had a concerned look on her face but didn’t think it involved me at all.

I share this background to tell what happened next. As we were walking to the car, I knew something was wrong when she said, “I have something to share with you.”  Immediately the Lord impressed this thought into my mind “My grace is sufficient for you” then the title of the song “Precious Lord Take my Hand.” We got in the car, she turned to me and said, “They’re gone!” I said, “What do you mean they’re gone, both of them?!” She nodded yes. With the Lord’s supportive hand, we were able to get back to her home safely. We were numb and it was all so surreal, but we definitely knew we were being carried; peace was in abundance.

Thus began a very long journey for us, for our families. I am omitting many more details, but the Lord supplied people, prayers, and His Presence in this crisis.

After the funeral and all that goes with the closing of a person’s life, I turned to a counselor to help me sort through the bits and pieces of my broken life. I had to work through anger at my husband and at God for allowing this to happen. I could not wrap my head around the fact that my husband’s life would end as a passenger in a car going 120 miles per hour. Why didn’t God stop it? I thought Him cruel and unfair and warred with His Sovereignty. I learned as I searched this attribute, that “God allows things to happen that give Him no pleasure.” We do live in a broken world and man’s will causes casualties.  This truth however took me many months to finally receive. I found peace through forgiveness and resting in the Lord even though I didn’t understand.

After many months of working with my counselor, I asked her to describe what I had gone through and she said, “your whole world blew up and there was only a pole left standing.” 

Later, I happened onto this photograph from the World Trade Center wreckage that was taken by Anne Bybee. The cross standing in the middle of all that debris caught my attention. The “pole” my counselor mentioned was actually “the cross.” For so long, all I could see was the debris in my life and concentrating on it wasn’t helpful. I had to be reminded that my Lord was there all the time, providing grace for each moment and taking my hand, leading me on, and helping me stand. He was helping me rebuild my life. He never leaves us or forsakes us, even when terrible tragedies come.

I am in awe of this fact…before I even knew what had happened, He gave me coping tools for this grief-filled journey…His sufficient grace and that scar-marked Hand.

A picture speaks a thousand words and I hope the photo does that for you too. As you reflect on it, my prayer is that you will remember that He is ever present in your life too, no matter the circumstances.

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Used with permission from Pam Luschei.

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