In Our Darkest Hour
by George & Kathy Ross
It was the winter of 1979, and my wife Kathy and I were rejoicing in the birth of our first-born son. We named him Nathaniel Ara Ross. I was working in a factory on night shift to make ends meet. At night when I came home, I would check on Nathaniel. Those precious days were filled with joy and wonder.
About the time of Nathaniel’s birth, an owl took roost just behind our house. My dad considered it a bad omen; this was not surprising. Being of Abenaki descent, he had been taught to fear such things. Life for our Abenaki people had been very difficult. Many generations ago, our people were targeted by British colonists, and they had to flee to Canada. An outbreak of smallpox took many lives there, including my great-great-grandfather’s parents.
Over the generations, alcohol became a way of life to deal with death and the grief that followed. Little did I comprehend that I too would be faced with a tragic death and catapulted into my own agonizing grief! Upon returning home from work late one night, I checked in on our little Nathaniel only to discover that our precious son had died! He passed away from crib death at just six days of age. We were devastated! The pain was unbearable.
My dad dealt with the pain the only way he knew how—through alcohol. This temporarily masked the pain but only made our problems worse. One time my mom came crying for help because he was going to shoot himself, so I rushed over to his house. He narrowly escaped death by his own hand only because I wrestled with him and somehow managed to get the gun from his hand. In his sorrow he believed the sins of his past had perhaps caused his grandson’s death. I did not have the answers to help him. I even feared it was my own sins that had brought our sorrow. I struggled with so many questions.
In utter despair I cried out to God. Would my son be in Heaven? Would I see him again? I believe God heard my cry. He knew the anguish in my heart. At the conclusion of the funeral service for Nathaniel, I was given a Bible which I read through completely— cover-to-cover. When I read II Samuel 12:23, I discovered that God had recorded the story of another despairing father who, like me, had lost his newborn son. King David had fasted and prayed through the night, yet his infant son died. David came to the realization that his son could not come back to him on this earth, but someday he would be reunited with him in Heaven.
God used this promise of hope along with other Scriptures to lovingly help me through the grieving process. God also used the caring efforts of a Christian friend at my work to help me understand more in the Bible. I learned that we can rest in the character of a righteous and just God Who holds men accountable through creation and conscience (Genesis 18:25; Romans 1:18-32). God graciously receives those who die in infancy, not because of their innocence or worthiness, but by His grace through Christ’s shed blood (Romans 9:15). Like David, we can look forward to a reunion with those who die in infancy. Hope of a future reunion is only found in Christ.
I still had many questions. I wanted to be absolutely sure that I too would be able to go to Heaven to be reunited with my son. I began to understand what God required of me in order to know for sure that I was going to Heaven.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. –I John 5:13
As I continued to seek God, I learned that He is holy and that our sin separates us from Him. Like all mankind, I am a sinner, and the penalty for sin is death.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. –Romans 5:12
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. –Romans 3:23
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. –Romans 5:8
Jesus paid for all my sins on the cross. I could accept His invitation to receive His free gift of salvation. This was the answer to my question! I cried out to God for forgiveness. I proclaimed Him as my Lord and Savior.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. –Romans 6:23
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. –John 3:16-17
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. –Romans 10:12-13
I share our story and these verses with you so that you too will experience the same comfort and hope that we now have through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. A relationship with God is truly the only source of hope and healing! Only our Creator can turn our mourning into comfort. His loving promises bring comfort and healing even during our darkest hours.
–George & Kathy Ross
*George & Kathy have dedicated their lives to sharing the hope and healing they have experienced through Jesus Christ. They use the tool of broadcast-evangelism around the world, reaching places otherwise closed to the Gospel.
LOVING ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE GRIEVING
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. –Lamentations 3:22-26
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. –Psalm 147:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. –Isaiah 26:3
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. –Isaiah 41:10
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. –Psalm 34:18
For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. –II Corinthians 4:6
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. –Psalm 27:13-14
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. –I John 1:4-5
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. –II Corinthians 1:3-5
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:6-7
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. –Hebrews 4:14-16
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. –Revelation 21:4