Below is Missy's Reason Part Six. The first five parts are available in the links italiciazed below.
Ben was silently praying in his bedroom, kneeling at his bed, when he thought he heard a voice. He opened his eyes, and looked around the room, glancing this way and that, to see if he could find the source of the noise. Nothing. He closed his eyes again, and returned to his prayer. Thoughts of the past streamed through his mind, memories of Katherine on their wedding night, their first date, the first time he saw her. Fleeting glimpses of thoughts he had forgotten once were now coming back, flooding his mind with vision, and overwhelming his heart with emotion.
Tears ran down his face as he prayed, silently still, asking God for one of many things he didn’t have enough of, strength to get through the night, and into tomorrow.
There was the voice again, and Ben flashed his eyes open quickly, wheeling around and up from his kneeling position, ready to greet whoever it was that had entered the room. He looked around, mystified. He was alone in the room. A soft shiver ran up his spine, gently cooling him, and at the same time, relaxing him. With a little trepidation, he turned back around, and kneeled once again.
“Ben” the voice said, now more clearly, more insistently.
Ben didn’t rise up and spin around this time, but he was keenly aware that there was a presence in the room, that he was not alone. He should have been afraid, hearing things, voices, without being able to see anything, yet he felt strangely at peace. He didn’t even open his eyes. He remained as he was, kneeling, and answered, “What?”
“Ben, be at peace. I hear all of your prayers, and I am here, with you.” The voice paused, and Ben said nothing in reply.
“Ben, do not be afraid to be weak, and continue to ask for strength. Do not feel guilty because you cannot carry this burden alone. You were not made to carry this burden, Ben, and it is more than you can handle. I am with you.”
Jesus!! Ben thought.
“Yes, Ben, I am He.” Jesus replied. “Ask me.”
“Ask you? I don’t understand, Jesus, what should I be asking you?” Ben answered, puzzled.
“Search your heart, you know.”
“Lord?” Ben began, tears forming in his eyes. “Lord, I was told you never give us more than we can handle. I can’t handle this! I can’t. It’s killing me inside. I want to hide. Why did you take her away from me? From us?”
Jesus answered, “Ben, She is mine, you know this. I have not taken her from you. I gave her to you, and now she has returned to me, though she never really left me.”
Again Jesus paused, and then said. “Ben, I often give you more than you can handle. After all, if you could handle everything, what need would there be for me?”
Ben could not refute that suddenly known truth, so he remained silent, in the presence of God.
The trouble was, God could stay silent longer than Ben, and when Ben could stand the silence no longer, he spoke. “Jesus, what am I supposed to do now? I don’t understand anything anymore. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, all I can do is remember. And right now, it just hurts too much to remember.”
“Ben, you are mine also. Remember you will, for I am reminding you of many things you shared with Katherine, and there is a reason, a purpose for this. I do nothing blindly, and there is no outcome I do not know of. Were I to take the memories away, the outcome I desire would not occur. I will have that outcome, regardless of the cost.
But do not be afraid, Ben, I go before you, in all things, and what you feel, I feel, what you see, I see, and what hurts you, hurts me, also. If something could harm you, if you could be separated from me, I would not allow circumstances to do such a thing. You are perfectly safe. I know you don’t believe me now, but you will. You will see many things Ben, and your daughter will see many things, wonderful things, glorious occurrences, and all of these things will shed light on the Father, who waits patiently to bring you to an understanding of our good purpose.”
“And what is that ‘good’ purpose, if it includes killing my wife, and taking my daughter’s mommy away from her? How can that be part of a good purpose?” Ben asked, partly ashamed of the sarcasm in his voice.
“You are thinking of your pain right now, Ben, and that is natural for you to do. I won’t deny you grief, I don’t expect you to be unfeeling, and unhurt. But good purposes are often brought about through death, pain, and suffering. So it was with my baptism, and so it is with this. What you see now, and feel, is the beginning of purpose, and yet this purpose has been planned from the beginning. But do not judge me harshly, Ben. No one loves Katherine more than I do, and to watch her suffer was a harsh reminder of my time in death, and pain. You feel what you are capable of feeling, Ben, and it is right for you to feel it. But I feel everything, and the grief you feel is mine to bear the more personally, always. I am with you, and I will not leave you.”
“Father, please help me….I miss her so much!’ Ben agonized, suddenly spitting his words out in torrents of emotion. “If you could just stay with me for a while, if I could just fall, and you would catch me, I might make it through tonight. I can’t do what I want to do. I want to die, Jesus! I want to not be here. I know I can’t, but I can’t stand the hurt. I just can’t. I can’t do it anymore, I want it all to be over with, why didn’t you take me instead?”
“Would you have Katherine feel this, Ben? Would you have her suffer this, so that you wouldn’t have to?”
Ben became silent then, and in a moment, he answered, “No, Lord, that hurts even more to think of.”
“And so your love for her is made complete. Then let’s face this together, my brother. Let’s get through the night together, and see what all of the tomorrows will bring, shall we?” And with that, Ben fell, weak from fatigue. Before he hit the floor, strong arms caught him, and carried him to his bed. The last words Ben heard that evening were,
“I knew you would do that, Ben.” Jesus chuckled, “Hush little child, don’t you cry, Father’s going to sing you a lullaby….”
Inside of Ben, joy leapt up like a spring for the moment, and the peace of being with Christ was full. Ben had just witnessed something he never thought about much. Jesus had a sense of humor, and it was perfect, and appropriate, and everything Ben could never have wondered about, and more. Ben fell quickly asleep.