When my son, David Sharrett II, was stationed in Iraq, I prayed because I believed God heard my prayers. I prayed because Dave was in danger, and I was powerless to help him. I entrusted Dave’s safety to God, because as a parent, that was all I could do to find comfort in that situation.
My life changed the moment I received the news that Dave was gone, that he had been killed in action. My heart was ripped out of me like old wallpaper stripped off a base not properly primed. In the tatters were hurt, confusion and anger. I was angry with God. It became winter in my soul.
Compounding the grief and feeling of isolation were the questions about Dave’s death. Winter turned into frozen tundra.
There were times when I was so paralyzed by anger and frustration the only thing I could do was crawl into bed and try to sleep. In those moments, the only comfort came through uttering the name of Jesus over and over again.
When I specifically questioned God if Dave was okay I got a sign. I was taking a walk along the beach at high tide. I said out loud “Lord, tell me that Dave’s okay.” As soon as I finished speaking those words, I looked into the tide and saw a piece of sea glass, which you would never normally see at that time of the day. Even more amazingly, that particular piece of sea glass turned out to be a very rare artifact. That was my sign that Dave was okay.
Dave’s death was crushing to me. It’s difficult to go through something like that and not have your faith become a little rocky. There are times now when I still have trouble praying. However, I know that just because God called my son home doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.
Every day , I prayed he would come home safely. He told me he would come home, and I believed him. But, it wasn’t God’s will for Dave to come home because, if it had been His will, Dave would have come home. But instead God took Dave home to be with Jesus.
That didn’t shake my faith because I trust God completely. It doesn’t mean I like it. It doesn’t mean it’s what I want or that it’s a satisfactory outcome in any shape or form. But I trust God with all my heart, with every thing I have.
When you know the Truth and believe the Truth, you can never get away from it completely. Some walk stronger in the path, some weaker.
It’s the relationship with Dave that’s gone. I don’t like how it affects us, or those who knew and loved him. In that respect death is extremely unsatisfactory. But it doesn’t change my relationship with Jesus.
But I can’t say now that if I know somebody is going to serve where there’s fighting that God will automatically protect him and bring him home. I know now it’s not always answered the way you want it to be.
David and Vicki Sharrett live in Forest, Va.