One of my duties as a CES Coordinator is to visit teachers and students in their various classes, assisting with administrative matters. Last night, as I met with a class in central Sweden, I spoke at length with the teacher about her recent family tragedy. Her twenty-one year old son had passed away a month ago in a motor accident.
She explained that even though there had been many tears and a feeling of void in their lives, there had still been light – even peace. I asked her how it was possible? She spoke calmly but resolute: “It’s because of Christ.” I thought for a second about others who have expressed similar words, and although I for the most part have little reason to doubt their sincerity, there was something different about this woman. She really meant what she said. I could see it in her countenance; still the same person, yes, but different still.
“How do you mean?” I asked. She explained that she had always believed in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, at least in theory. “But now”, she said, “I know it really works!” Excitement gathered in her eyes as she continued, speaking also for her family: “Even though we have known that Christ has taken all our burdens upon himself, we have never felt it the way we do now. There are no why’s or if’s! Just a peaceful assurance that God is with us, lifting us when our own strength fails us.”
Many times have I felt the power of Jesus’ atonement. His healing power is real, no doubt. But I was still awestruck by the words I heard (and there were many more) last night. In a moment when most people would resort to despair and perhaps fear, this family had opened its heart to God – and was healed.
When we parted she thanked me sincerely for coming. “No problem,” I said, a little ashamed, “but… I should be the one thanking you!” I had come there hoping to give something to this teacher and her family, but I knew it was I who was at the receiving end.