One of life's greatest pains it the loss of your spouse to death. To share one's life and the deepest intimacies of life with another person and have that come to a halt is a piercing loss and a pain that is not easily numbed.
There is Christian hope for those who have lost a husband or wife. Let me recommend several titles for you that you can give to that person you know (perhaps yourself) that needs the comforts of Christ.
FOR WIDOWERS (with children still at home):
Donald Howard; CHRISTIANS GRIEVE TOO; Banner
of Truth--written by a pastor, this powerful
booklet begins with the acknowledgement that
after years of helping his wife battle cancer, he
was prepared for her dying--BUT he was not
prepared for his own grieving! This is his story
and points to where help may be obtained.
Edward Hartman, HOMEWARD BOUND; Christian
Focus Publications--Edward Hartman is a pastor
who kissed his wife good-bye before he left for
a couple of weeks of intensive study to work on
an advanced degree in another city. He receives
a phone call that will change his life. His wife is
dying with only a short time to live. He was
unprepared; they were both too young. They
had young children. This is the story of how he
coped, planned and re-structured the way he did
family. How does a husband and father prepare
his family for eternity? Read this engrossing and
Jerry Bridges, TRUSTING GOD (When Life Hurts);
Jerry Bridges, IS GOD REALLY IN CONTROL ?;
Two sanity-savers from a man who lost his first
wife to cancer and applied many of the lessons
of trusting God while walking the floor at night.
If you have not read at least TRUSTING GOD,
then you need to--it is that good and that
important. I implore all pastors to have their
people read it BEFORE things hit the fan of life!
(IS GOD REALLY IN CONTROL? deals with the
kind of "Yes, but..." response some people had
to TRUSTING GOD.)
WIDOWS (and those who love them)
Austin Walker, GOD'S CARE FOR THE WIDOW; Day
One Publications--show from both testaments
how continuous is God's focus and concern for
widows. His love for the powerless and vulnerable
and grieving is a wonder to behold. Note how
many times "widows" are the focus of biblical
stories of God's care.
Carol Cornish, THE UNDISTRACTED WIDOW;
Crossway--shows more about how the widow
herself needs to be involved in her local church
and how that local church can minister to her.
John Angell James, THE WIDOW DIRECTED TO THE
WIDOW'S GOD; Soli Deo Gloria--a 19th century
classic in 19th century English. Not for the
novice reader or non-reader. But meaty for those
who read their Bibles and other Christian
literature. If they can read Spurgeon, they can
read James, a near contemporary Englishman.
Christin Ditchfield, THREE WISE WOMEN (Mary,
Elizabeth and Anna); Crossway--each of these
women have something to teach today's woman,
two of them had to deal with the death of a
spouse or son.
Elizabeth Eliot, LET ME BE A WOMAN; Tyndale--wise
counsel from a woman who lost two husbands
and has learned much from God over the years.
Originally written for her daughter as she
Sinclair Ferguson, A HEART FOR GOD; Banner of
Truth--a heart-warming study of approaching
God with the right attitude based upon the kind
of God He had revealed Himself to be. The
chapter on Ruth is worth the price of the book
alone. GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT for widows in
this chapter. I would encourage every Christian
to read this book, widow or not!
FOR THOSE IN GRIEF, MAN OR WOMAN:
Sharon James, THE DAWN OF HEAVEN BREAKS;
Evangelical Press--a precious collection of hymns,
anecdotes, poems and Scripture dealing with
death, grieving, heaven, the eternal hope, etc.
May the Lord Himself shows Himself precious to those of you who are mourning the loss of your spouse. May He Himself be the salve to your soul and your guiding star.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin