Words by Stephen Aycock | Image by Ryan McGill
When you’ve lost a child, it’s as if you’re stranded in a lifeboat amidst a storm, and the life you once knew is sinking to the depths of the sea. The emotional pain crashes over you like relentless waves, leaving you breathless. Gripping the edge of your tiny vessel, you find yourself paralyzed in the heart of the storm, unable to row and perpetually surrounded by chaos. Even if your screams were audible above the wailing wind, they would likely be misunderstood.
In this profound darkness, no light seems potent enough to pierce the engulfing gloom. Shattered and lonely, you sit in your tiny craft, cold and devoid of hope, realizing that you are small amidst the sea’s vastness and everything meaningful to you has sunk with the ship you left behind.
Alone in the boat, we may encounter God, who is right there with us. Yet often, confusion prevails. Despite being God, aware of us, our child, and the love we held, there’s a perplexity in His presence amidst this sea of despair. In moments of anger, frustration, and the myriad tasks required to stay afloat, He may become the last refuge we seek. All the while, the master of our tiny vessel should have been our initial anchor.
It is important to remember that Jesus walked on the water toward his disciples during the storm, not after it subsided (Matthew 14:29-32). When Peter, amidst the tempest, asked to join him on the water, Jesus didn’t calm the sea but allowed him to navigate the same storm. When Peter faltered, Jesus reached out, saying, “Oh ye of little faith, why do you doubt?” He stilled the winds and sea only after entering the boat with his disciples.
Doesn’t that mirror our relationship with Jesus during our darkest hours? Feeling alone in turmoil, we often wish the storm would go away, yet He reaches down amidst the squall, grasps our hand, and pulls us up. While the storm and loss may dominate our perception, it’s crucial to recognize whose hands lift us from under the sea and calm the storm above.
While the Lord’s comfort is the first solace we should seek, there is much value in also seeking help from those who comprehend our ongoing battle. Joining a Support Group introduces a community of people who stand beside you, love you, and, most importantly, understand your pain. We can’t fix you any more than we can fix ourselves, but in that small lifeboat adorned with a cross, where only the most wounded find space, we can row for you when you can’t, offer comfort in sickness, pray in your stead, bail out the water threatening to capsize you, provide warmth, sing distracting tunes, and guard against looming threats. Everyone prays for your rescue, just as they pray for their own, until the time comes for roles to reverse. WL