It’s a phone call no parent, friend, family member or pastor wants to get. “There’s been an accident.” Or in the case of my sweet friend, Tiffany, the announcement didn’t come via Verizon. It came with two police officers visiting her at work to escort her to the hospital. “There’s been an accident.”
Her husband, two children and niece had been in a horrible accident. Deep in the pit of her soul, Tiffany knew the outcome as the officers answered questions about her kids and her niece, but not her husband. Her 32 year old husband. The love of her life – just a couple weeks before what would’ve been their 10th anniversary.
We didn’t know Tiffany and Nick well when the accident happened. They had just been coming to our church for about 3 weeks, although I knew Tiffany from work. In fact, Tiffany didn’t even have our number yet. A mutual friend that was there with her at the hospital knew us and knew how to get Kevin’s number. And card playing with friends came to an abrupt halt.
In the three years since that fateful day in July, Tiffany and I have become very good friends. We have laughed together. We have met for many a tearful coffee date. Not only have I been there for her, but she has been there for me. She is a treasured friend of mine. We have laughed at the ridiculousness of dating (that maybe wasn’t so funny at the time). We chuckle at the sweetness of her kiddos. In the bleakest moments we have held on to a miniscule shred of hope together. Because – somewhere in the crevasses of our soul we hold on to a HOPE. A hope that heals. A hope that restores. A hope that brings beauty from ashes.
This Saturday, Tiffany is marrying again. A wonderful man that God has brought into her life that loves her and her kiddos. A man that has stolen her heart like she never thought could fully happen again. My eyes have welled with tears many times in recent weeks in anticipation of this new beginning for her. My heart swells in thankfulness to our gracious God for this answer to prayer. And my mouth will bear a smile on Saturday reflecting the joyous hope we have in a Savior who never leaves us. Never forsakes us.
Let this be a reminder, a stone of remembrance if you will (Josh. 4:20-24), if you too are in the bleakest of days – that God’s specialty is taking beauty from ashes, remembering what has been taken yet redeeming what is to come.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
A joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!
For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
And draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
Or a bride with her jewels. Isa. 61:3,10