Light on a Dark Path

The beginning of the year 2017 was a whirlwind of joyful busy-ness. We were in the final preparation for my younger daughter’s wedding. Hers had been a whirlwind romance. Rachel had met her husband-to-be almost exactly a year prior to the date of their upcoming wedding. They were engaged just three months after they met. And her fiance’ was 20 years older than she. I had all sorts of worries swirling in my mind in the beginning.

But, as we got to know him, I felt more comfortable. They were introduced at a Bible study at the home of their associate pastor who had been a great friend of Rachel’s since college. He and his wife both heartily supported the relationship. Rachel was 30 years old – not a naïve young girl, and this was not her first serious romance. They faithfully attended premarital counseling with their pastor. And, most of all, they were obviously in love and committed to a lifetime together. Ultimately, I felt God had brought them together for all the right reasons.

So, on February 10, 2017 they were wed in a sweet, small ceremony and started their married life.

They were busy when they returned from their honeymoon. They only had a few weeks before Rachel’s lease was up to move all her possessions from her condo into his apartment. And she was in the midst of changing jobs. I had a backlog of work projects to catch up on. So, while we had some lengthy phone conversations, we didn’t have time to make the four-hour trek to get together in person. There would be time for that when things settled down.

On April 11, I got a call at work from my son-in-law. It was mid-afternoon on a Tuesday – an odd time for him to call. He said, “I have a hard thing to tell you. Rachel died in a car accident on her way to work this morning.”

No. That can’t be the way this story ends. There has to be a mistake. Nowhere was this in the plan. How could the same God who brought them together let this happen?

I’m not going to lie – I was angry at God. I raged at Him. “Why” and “How could you” were the only words I could pray for a long time, when I could summon up words at all between gut-wrenching sobs. Then gradually I dredged up the words “Help me.” And, although I didn’t realize it at the time, those words signaled the beginnings of hope. Because, even though I might never have answers in this earthly life to “why,” I knew that the only way I could walk this new path I was on was with God’s help. I needed His guidance.

And I will tell you that I was not a consistent reader of God’s Word at that point. I was a Christian and I had been raised in the church. I read devotionals sporadically and prayed occasionally. God was out there somewhere, but not really involved in my day-to-day life. And that was okay. I was in control of my life and only needed God’s help from time to time. Feel free to roll your eyes. Who was I kidding?

Rachel was a devout follower of Jesus. She was also a bit of a rebel. When she turned 21, she got a tattoo on her ankle of a lantern and the words Psalm 119:105. My new path was dark and lonely. I needed a reminder that “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” So, as I started reading the Bible every day and kept praying, at some point I started listening. And I realized that God was not out there somewhere. He was here. Right here. He knew I was hurting, and it hurt Him for me to be in pain. John 11:33-35 tells us that when Lazarus died and Jesus came to his sisters and saw them crying “He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled” and that “Jesus wept.”

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

Jesus explicitly and directly said that God will comfort people who mourn (Matthew 5:4). God knows that the loss of a child is a pain unlike any other. He has specific and personal comfort for grievers. He will weep for us and with us. He will comfort us. And when we are ready to take those first tentative steps onto the new path we have to walk without our child with us, He will shine a light to show us the way.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“When Jesus saw her weeping,  . . . He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled.” John 11:33

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105


4 responses to “Light on a Dark Path”

  1. Dear Laura

    Hello from the UK. Many thanks for your post and your honesty. It is written ‘Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all’.

    Anyway, your beloved Rachel is not lost forever, merely asleep in her cloud awaiting resurrection day. when you will meet again. There is so much that does not make sense in life, but only when one knows the truth can one understand and say ‘Ah yes, I see know.’

    The heavenly Father had to watch His Son suffer, His beautiful Boy who became a Man. He weeps for all His children of course.

    And as I say to people, Jesus came to a young lady, a Julian of Norwich (strictly Julianne as they wrote phonetically at that time), and said to her ‘All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson
    Please excuse the nom-de-plume, this is as much for fun as a riddle for people to solve if they wish.


    1. Can I take a guess at your name or would that ruin it for others?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Laura

    A very reasonable question. It is a bit of a game as it were and whilst I will put no specific rules of the game, my suggestion is to use my contact page to email me which will keep it secret from others all being well (no one else has access to my account, but I don’t trust the power of the internet of those who might abuse it).

    This will keep others from learning my real name if you get it right and let them still play the game if they want to.

    However, if you would rather not do that as I would then have your email address (although I would reply so you had mine), you could put your guess here as a reply to this comment of mine. You don’t have a contact form at the moment, so I cannot email you (this does not reveal your email address to me but you should then have mine).

    As no one has yet tried a guess, I am not quite sure myself how to play it: possibly cold, warm, hot etc depending on the accuracy. I am happy to have questions asked, although the answers I might give could be further clues.

    If you know the game Cluedo, known as Clue in North America, then suggestions are normally kept secret, so I think this is the sort of game I am trying to emulate.

    I do have three parts to my full name, and there is a small prize to those who guess all three correctly.

    Does this seem reasonable to you?




    1. I would prefer we keep the comments pertinent to the post and the focus of the website, which is bereaved parents. Thank you in advance for understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

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