She and her grown son slipped quietly into the pew two rows in front of me. The service had just begun and the first song was already underway as she joined in, and she did not glance to the right or the left. But especially not to the right.
I had caught a brief glimpse of her face as she arrived and her expression was one that is hard to describe; calmness, shadowed by sadness, yet determined - and yes, I could see a hopeful obedience in her countenance.
She had no idea what a witness she was to me in that moment. Not because of something she said, for she did not speak. Not for something she sang, as I could not distinguish her voice among all the others. Nevertheless, she was to me, on that morning two weeks ago, a profound witness to the faithfulness of God to his people and of his people to one another.
Just a few days earlier she had arrived home from a quick trip downtown to do some shopping. I am told that she walked into the living room and found her husband of many years lying on the floor. He was already gone and he was only fifty-nine years old.
Now, here she was, sitting in her regular pew. But she did not look to the right.
On the platform, to her right, stood a young man of perhaps thirty playing the bass guitar, along with the other musicians in the worship band. He must have known where he was standing, as he kept his eyes downcast and never looked out at the congregation that morning.
For many years her husband had stood in that very spot - he was the bass guitarist. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for her to see another standing there. Or how hard it was for him to stand there; but there he was, doing his part, quietly, reverently.
And there she was, doing her part. Showing up. Despite the sudden shock of terrible loss, despite the newness of widowhood, despite the fact that another stood in her loved one's place now. There she was - still showing up.
And as that young man played, she sang with us these words:
Until He returns, or calls me home,
Here I stand in the power of Christ.
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Will I? Will you? When sudden loss, or heartache comes, will we "stand in the power of Christ" until He comes or calls us home? Will we carry on, faithfully, doing what we know to do, until then?
That is my determination. May we allow God to give us the grace to carry on, for not only our own sake, but for the sake of those who may be watching our example. Your faith, and your example of living it out in the real world, matters more than you know ... to someone who is watching.
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God bless you today as you carry on. Your fellow traveler ~ Marsha