God Will Make a Way : When There Seems to Be No Way, by Terry Rush
- ISBN: 9781582293028 | 1582293023
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 10/1/2002
|Someday, I Will Be Me Again|
|Spiritual Answers for Spiritual Creatures|
|The Privilege of Pain|
|The Lessons of Pain|
|God's Prescription for Pain|
|Be Still and Know|
|The Fog Will Lift|
|Heaven Sends Its Love|
|Appendix: Suggested Reading|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
The invisible substance called meaning
had been drained from my life,
and most of what I saw now looked senseless:
the striving, the hopes, the dreams. The struggles.
Life didn't seem worthwhile.
Trying was stupid.
The force we were fighting felt overwhelming,
the odds not in our favor.
-- Melody Beattie
The "Other Person" Turned Out to Be Me
Tough stuff has always happened to the other personsomestranger in the newspaper or someone who lives two blocks over.But now it's you. You have felt so badly for others; who wouldever believe this unbelievable event is yours?
Can anyone own anything this big? Does this really belong to you?Are you stuck with this? You didn't ask for this! Anger. Fear.Total shock. The unknown. The impossible. Is this a bad dream?It's much worse.
The hurt is so gigantic that you can't comprehend the depth ofthe wound. You need help. You need big help, and you know it. Buthow, what, where, when, and who? Un-answers keep trying to pullyou under.
God Will Make a Way is a book with arms . . . armsto hold you. Let this book lead you to the arms of God. Let himcaress you entirely. Be still. Let him guide; let him talk; lethim listen; let him cry with you. All of your schemes have beendismantled. There seems to be no way. God will make a way.
I am grateful for my handicap,
for through it I found my world,
my self, and my God.
-- Helen Keller
The evening of December 7, 1992, best I recall, had a cool crispedge in the air. Mary and I returned home from a Christmas playto find a note from our daughter, Wendy, that was not in theleast bit alarming. "Have gone with Mark McCoy. Will callyou later." Simple enough.
Little did we know that backing those two simple sentences wasthe unleashing of hellish terror and pain. Just moments later thephone rang. Its message, now months later, is still all tooclear.
In a very deliberate voice, our dear neighbor, Judy McCoy,carefully spaced each word."Terry-I'm-so-sorry-to-tell-you-thisSomething-terrible-has-happenedWendy's-boyfriend-has-been-killedAnd-Terry-it-wasn't-an-accidentIt-looks-like-someone-has-murdered-him-and-his-brotherMark-has-taken-Wendy-to-the-sceneI-am-so-sorry-to-have-to-tell-you-thisTerry-I-am-so-sorry."
I thanked her the best I could, and in shock, hung up.
Although I remained standing, I couldn't verify that there was afloor beneath me. I picked up where Judy's cadence left off andrepeated the message to Mary. This information was too stunningto be heard, let alone be true.
I just stood. My first thought was, "God, how would youthink I ought to handle this?" It was too hard to hear. Ihad to call Judy back and ask her to repeat everything she hadjust said to be certain I had heard her right.
Twenty-six year old Bobby Phillips was engaged to Wendy. He hadcalled from work that evening and was to be at our house byseven. But first, he had to run home to change clothes.
Although I had heard Judy twice, I still thought she must havehad the story wrong. Most likely the boys had been badly hurt . .. but not killed. I was pretty sure someone had gotten a littleoveranxious and had exaggerated parts of the story.
Mary and I headed immediately for Bobby's house. The night airhad turned soupy with fog. The speedometer read 55 mph. But itseemed the car was moving so much slower. My hips and legs didn'thave any feeling.
Neither of us said much in the car. One would mumble somethingabout Wendy. Much later another would ask what the possibilitywas that someone had simply misunderstood. Maybe it wasn't amurder, but rather an accident. Maybe he wasn't dead. Not Bobby.
I didn't think we would ever get to his house. On the other hand,I didn't want to get there.
We wove through the heavy fog that lulled the streets into quietslumber. The closer we got, the more anxious we became. Shockseemed to make everything too strange. My whole being felt as outof place as an arm that goes to sleep in the middle of the night.This was all too wrong.
It was a strain to read the street signs. As we found theentrance to their housing addition, an ambulance was leaving. Wemoaned. Shortly, we came around a corner, and the fog was piercedby a staggering scene.
Squad cars with their kaleidoscopic flashing lights wereeverywhere. Yellow tape rudely barricaded the Phillips' lawn andhouse against the rest of the neighborhood. Enormous giganticsickness rushed in and drowned my heart. It was true.
Light beamed from every room of the house. The roof line andshrubbery were dancing with strings of Christmas lights. Thehouse itself spoke of irony. Something was brightly wrong.
Reporters moved about doing their job. Television crews, alongwith trucks and equipment, added to the overwhelming assurancethat Judy's words were, after all, true.
We approached a neighboring house that was being used as"police headquarters." I really preferred not to stepthrough the door. We entered into massive heartbreak. Bobby'sparents, Wanda and Bob, sat on a sofa. Wanda sat with her armaround Bob, who was slumped in tears. His jacket was stained withBobby's blood. A police chaplain somewhat anchored the room whilethe policemen and policewomen continually moved back and forthbetween this house and the Phillips'.
I found Wendy in the next room with Mark McCoy. She was white.Her countenance was totally blank. Her heart was blown away. Herfiancé was dead. Words were futile; their combinations didlittle to mend the moment. Hugs, tears, broken sentences, and alot of coffee filled the hours ahead.
Intermittent sobbing verified that the night was filled withgrievous disorientation. In and out. . . . in and out-thedetectives were hustling. The woman whose home we were usingministered sweetly to us: "The phone is clear now. Wouldanyone care for more coffee?"
Mary stayed with Wendy. I moved from Wendy, to Bob and Wanda, tothe phone, and then circled again . . . and again. I called myboys and told them what I couldn't bear for them to hear. Mostly,I sat with Wendy on the floor against an out-of-the-way barewall. Maryann and Brad (Bobby's sister and her husband) came infrom an otherwise enjoyable evening to be pelted with the worst.It was unbearable to watch this evening unfurl its nightmarishsaga.
Police worked in overdrive, while the rest of us sat with glazedeyes and did our best to think of something intelligent to say. Iheard one officer ask Bob and Wanda if they owned an ax. What inthe world had happened to our boy?
The events of the double murder remain sketchy. Bobby'snineteen-year-old brother, David, had been home alone. David wasmentally handicapped. At approximately 5:00 p.m. someone hadentered the house, had shot David in the head, and had thenstrangled him. It is possible that when Bobby came home, henoticed that something was dangerously wrong.
It appears that he entered from the garage into the kitchen,picking up an ax along the way. The intruder(s) turned the weaponon him and also stabbed him. This clean-cut, handsome,hardworking boy was ruthlessly bludgeoned to his death.
The next few days were treacherous. At night, wails muffled byher pillow could be heard coming from Wendy's room. Sometimesthere would be a shift into perpetual sobbing. Her terrifyingnightmares would awaken us all.
Our world of friends overwhelmed us with warmth, compassion, andlove. The Phillipses, too, were bombarded with consoling strengthfrom those who loved them. The grief was suffocating all thewhile. It killed me to know why people constantly brought food tothe house. Flowers were everywhere . . . absolutely everywhere.
Television reporters repeatedly came to our home for interviews.Other media would call wanting to know the floor plans to thePhillips' house, etc. I believe the worst experience of my lifewas when I took Wendy to the funeral home. Due to the blows toBobby's head, whether the family should view his body wasundecided. A couple of his cousins and I went in first todetermine if others should follow. Viewing was permitted.
The right side of the skull had received extensive trauma. Wendycontinually patted his face and felt his arms and chest. Suddenlyshe said, "Daddy, look at this over here." She waspointing to the undamaged left side of his head and face."Look how smooth it is over here. Could we turn himaround?"
It took a lot of explaining to convince her that we could not.With a certain peace, she sighed, "Oh well, I'm just goingto always remember the good side."
December 11 presented a picture too baffling. The pace of painseemed to gain speed and weight. Tom Bedicek, the minister of Boband Wanda's church, opened the services of the double funeral.Mitch Wilburn, David's youth minister, spoke in honor of David. Iwas privileged to preach the funeral of Bobby, who had become myown son.
To look into the eyes of family and friends was incomprehensible.We three men didn't have the strength to carry this load. Therewas an unspoken respect for each other's brokenness. It was onlyand literally by the genuine assistance of God that wefunctioned. Each was conscious, and that was the extent of ourstrength for the moment.
Once again, there was no feeling in my hips or legs. Unsurewhether I was making contact with the floor, I felt a floatingsensation. I kept feeling as if I might collapse and feared thatTom and Mitch would be forced to hold me up while I addressedthose packed into the church building.
The days following were streams of bewilderment. Numbnesssometimes showed signs of dissipating. I felt extremely close toGod. He was doing the work for I was far too weak to function.The Lord was always strong; I never was. Sorrow flooded my mind,heart, and soul.
Chaos ensued. Detectives warned the Phillipses and us thatadditional lives might be at risk. Guard dogs were brought intoboth homes. For days, the local news interviewed Bobby andDavid's family and Wendy and myself. For weeks after theincident, it was not unusual to hear the radio announcer say:"The latest on the murder of Bobby and David Phillips . .." Sometimes I could take it.
When I came home in the evenings, I would often find Mary sittingin the dark, replaying the events in her mind. Sometimes I wouldfind Wendy folded in tears on her bed. But even so, only momentslater, Wendy would say something that would let me know she wasgoing to come through this. We were always aware that Bob, Wanda,Maryann, and Brad were across town, also feeling stunned andhurt. Everyday I expected to be done crying. I did well in frontof people . . . sometimes. I cried the hardest and the hottestand the longest in the shower. I felt like something must bewrong with me, that I shouldn't be this devastated. I finally hadto quit telling myself that I wouldn't cry anymore. I still cry.
I don't know what others thought of how we were doing. I don'tknow how we ought to have done. God was doing good in us, though.
Thirteen days from the funeral, pain increased its pace. Friendsof ours, Chris and Linda Jones had gone with Mary and me to theChristmas play the night the boys died. Linda's sister, SusanMartin, was also a dear friend.
During the week before Christmas, Linda commented several timesthat Susie was not feeling well. She seemed to have come downwith the flu, which was certainly an inconvenience while tryingto get details for the big holiday in order. She finally becameso ill that she called for her mother, Linda Myers, to come tohelp.
Before long, Chris and Linda were called to the city. Susan hadbeen hospitalized, and it appeared somewhat serious. I called theMartin's house about five that evening. Chris said that David(Susan's husband), Linda, and her mother had just been called tothe hospital. I called the waiting room. Linda was crying.
Treatment was ineffective. She asked me to call a Tulsa doctorfriend of David's to see if he had any insight as to what couldbe done for her sister. Contact with Dr. Reese was immediate.Just as quickly (maybe three minutes), I returned a call to thewaiting room to let Linda know of my conversation with Joe Reese.I asked the woman if I could speak to Linda Jones. The voice onthe other end very carefully said, "I'm sorry, but Susandidn't make it." It was Christmas Eve.
I put my head on the table and sobbed away what was left of myheart. This just couldn't be happening. Mary, Wendy, and I cried;layers of grief were beginning to accumulate. I couldn't acceptthat now the Martins, Myerses (Susan's family), and Joneses werethrust into their own impossible swirling pit of disorientation.Not this. Not now. Not them.
David, Bobby and, now, Susie. This thirty-five year old wife andmother of three little boys had died of toxic shock syndrome as aresult of infection in her hand. Susan Martin was perfect; shejust was. And now she has disappeared. We hold her close in thewonders of memory.
A slight word revision of the late '60s song continually sweptthrough my mind, "Have you seen Bobby, Martin, andDavid?"
This just couldn't be true. Mary and I drove immediately toOklahoma City to be with this family who hurt beyond measure.Everything becomes so foreign when we feel we have lost control.Individually, we find ourselves stripped of meaning.
I had conducted Bobby's funeral on December 11. I did Susie's onDecember 28. To watch the family file into the auditorium seemedall too impossible. Their facial expressions begged for someoneto assure them that this was a mistake. How painful is pain! Howunacceptable is this which we are forced to accept!
Was there a plug we could pull to make all of this stop? Didanyone know of a rewind button? How could this happen? This stuffhappens to others, not us. None of us received any warning. Therewere no yellow lights of caution to prepare us for thisunfathomable intersection.
"So, Terry, where was this God you say loves us? Where washis compassion? And of what benefit was your faith?" Thesehaunting questions are the reason I reveal my story to you.
Early in December, a friend asked if I was working on a new book.I told him I was and that the theme was grief. He asked why Ichose that topic. My only response, with a shrug of my shoulders,was that I felt from God that he was preparing me to write thisbook. Four days later the boys were murdered. Seventeen daysafter that, Susan passed away. And, here's the book.
I believe God will make a way. This book is intended to helpindividuals who can't do stress another moment. The remainingchapters will point depressed and discouraged souls to incrediblehope in God. What I have endured, I can't fathom. What I haveexperienced has been wonderfully privileged and blessed. I havetasted ruin. God has hurried to help. He has made a way whenthere seemed to be no way.
The events I share with you reveal multiple personal weaknessesfound in me. I share my story that you may know the glory andbeauty and power of God. The radiance of the diamond shows upbest when placed against the darkest cloth.
Grief can't choke out our hope if God has our permission to spendthat hope. Rather, grief gives way to delight and eventual joy.As Jack Hayford said inLeadershipmagazine,
Trials cannot be avoided, but they can be navigated. Pain willcome, but it will be healed in the presence of Jesusmaybenot overnight, but the healing will come.
I can't say that we ever get over significant loss. By his workin us, though, we do get on. We move forward with great tears,assured healing, enormous sorrow, comfort from the Spirit,painful reminders, happy reminders, and hope. He alone will makea way.
In other words, when I write of the privilege and joys of painand the ultimate hope and victory available, you will understandthat I know grief from lifenot from a textbook. I havesampled it firsthand so that I could know how you feel in yourawful pain. I have eaten at the table of spiritual poverty that Imight pass the plate of encouragement.
As you try to pick up the pieces, I give my support. When youstare off into endless space, I gaze there myself. When you talkof the deceased as if they were alive (having momentarilyforgotten they are not), I have done the same. When your tearshave nearly drowned you and your mind won't quit rehashing theseries of events, I have communion with your pain.
Therefore, I insist . . . when there seems to be no way, God willmake a way. Hope is on its way . . . from above!
Excerpted from God Will Make a Way: When There Seems to Be No Way by Terry Rush
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.