THE HARDEST VALLEY TO CROSS
by Verna Mull 6/30/2009 / Events
This account began in September, 1976. We were having a crew work on building one of those huge corn legs on our farm. We were pushing against time, as we would need it when we started to harvest our crop. It was a busy time.
The garden was producing, and I was busy with that, and helping wherever I could with other things.
My husband, Paul, was in the midst of a spiritual battle. I wouldn't mention this, except that this tooto, was the working of God. He had been trying to mentor a young man who had chosen many bad paths in life. He had even been called at 2:00 in the morning by this man. He wanted Paul to meet him, and he wasn't in very good shape. Paul spent hours with him at various times. This had all begun when the young man visited our church. We had an altar call, and this man was obviously struggling with the Spirit and was still sitting in a pew as we passed by. Paul felt the Spirit pulling him to stop and talk with the man, but tried to ignore it. He had never met him before in his life. As he walked by, he felt the hair on the back of his head stand up, and he knew that he could not pass by, and turned and witnessed to this young man, who told him that he had a yellow streak down his back and he'd never stay true if he did respond. All of the scripture and pleading was to no avail. Yet, that was when he had entered my husband's life, and God drew them together several times after that. Paul was so sure that if he did his part, the Spirit would do the rest, and always depended on God to meet the need in His time. To make a long story short, the young man divorced his wife, and had another girlfriend who he decided to marry. There was a stag party which included drinking, and this man was speeding on his motorcycle, chased by the police, and ended up dead under the policeman's car.
Paul had great difficulty with this outcome to the definite leading of God. He struggled with God for weeks. "Why did God lead me to work with this guy so long, only to have him enter eternity unsaved?'"If the police would quit chasing people and just get back and arrest him when he was sober, he would still have a chance to make peace with God" "It's the police who sent him to an eternity without Christ" I had no good answers. The only thing I could say to try to relieve his pain, was "It only takes a moment to surrender to God. Perhaps He knew the Way well enough that He made that decision in his final moments, Needless to say, that did not answer enough questions for Paul, and all I could do was pray. His battle seemed to go on and on. Well, on the Wednesday of the week I am preparing to write about, Paul came in from his work in the field with a smile on his face, and said to me, "Well, I finally have peace about the situation. While I was on the tractor out in the field, I was still doing battle with God. It was almost like an audible voice said to me, "You do the work, and I have the answers." I think God wants me to know that there are a lot of things that I will not understand in life, but He is asking me to just follow His promptings, and leave the rest to Him." Thank you, Jesus!
The following Saturday morning was a beautiful day. I washed my hair, rolled in some curlers, and sat down to answer some letters that should have been answered long ago. Paul was very busy arranging things for his work of the day. Our son, Vernon, had a construction job that he worked at after school, and Saturdays. He had worked with this crew all through the summer, but was still in his senior year of high school, and could only work part time. This Saturday, he was headed for his job on a farm about 12 miles from us. Of course, being a mother, I said as he left, "You aren't going to wear that grubby jacket are you?" He replied, "Mom, I'm going to work. It doesn't matter if it's a little shaggy" Well, he was right, and I said, "okay, drive careful now!" His reply, "Yeah, Mom" I really don't even know why I said that as he was always riding his Dad to stay in the speed limit, make a real stop at stop signs, etc.
He got into his little blue Maverick car, and backed down by the shop to give his Dad a "thumbs up" as he drove off to work. This was about 7:30-8.00 in the morning.
At about 9:30 or 10:00, the telephone rang. The message I received, nearly made my knees buckle. By then, Paul had taken off somewhere in his pick-up. The call was from a Dr. at the hospital, who stated, "We believe that your son was involved in a fatal accident" I cried out, "Oh no!" The Dr. asked me what kind of a car that our son drove. I was so stunned that I couldn't even remember, and I just told him, "It was a little blue car with a stripe down the side" He simply said, "Yes" Then, he said "We need you and your husband to come to the hospital to identify him" Sobbing, I said, "My husband is not home, but we'll come as soon as I can reach him" I hung up the phone, my heart was pounding, my body was convulsing in sobs! I knew that I must get control of myself, and I cried out to God.
We had two-way communication between our home and our vehicles. When I thought I could steady my voice, I called my husband and asked him where he was. I don't even remember his reply, but I said "Could you please come home right away?" He said, "I'm just a few miles from home, I'll be right there" I knew that I didn't dare tell him what had happened, or I would probably lose them both in one day!
Even though Paul didn't know why, he had thoughts of perhaps one of the motley workers had tried to molest me. (I didn't have my voice as well under control as I had thought!) He could tell that something was terribly wrong, and rushed home.
I watched for Paul to pull into the driveway, and was there to meet him. I just blurted out "Vernon was killed, going to work!" Paul collapsed over the steering wheel of the pick-up. When he could finally park the pickup, he was so weak in the knees that I had to help him out of the pick-up and into the house to change his clothes.
As we drove towards town, we met our hired man coming to work. He stopped for instructions, and we told him what had happened, and what he needed to do.
When we reached the hospital, our pastor was there to meet us, and help Paul walk into the hospital. It took both us to get him into the hospital. Our hired man had rushed in our house and given him a call. What a wonderful thought, and also, to know that our pastor could be reached at his office from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 each day, unless there was an emergency! That is a true pastor! There were no cell phones in those days!
It seemed like hours before the Doctor came to get us, but I'm sure it was only minutes. He stepped in and asked for my husband. I said to our pastor, "I have to go see him"
He told me, "Just go if you need to, and I quickly joined Paul and the Dr. who led us to small room...By then, Paul was doing some better. When I walked into that room, I felt as if I were walking at least a foot off of the floor. Through my mind, a scripture verse nearly rang in the room, "For He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Psalms 91:11, and 12 KJV
I threw my arms around our son's still body. My husband started to pull me back, but the Dr said, "No, leave her alone!" At that moment, I heard a voice. It seemed as if it was the voice of Jesus Himself, saying, "I can raise the dead, do you want him back?' I have no idea how I could inwardly say, "No, Jesus, if this is Your Will; we'll handle the pain, and trust in You!'. This conversation reverberated in my mind over the next several days. Inside, I said to myself. Why did I answer that way?" Then, I would say to myself, "God doesn't make mistakes, but why?" Some of our why's aren't meant to behave answered, but somehow, I know every life is planned before we are ever born, and that is something we have to learn to accept. The Doctor did tell me that we would not have wanted him to live because he would have been completely paralyzed, due to a broken neck. Somehow, that even seemed very minor at the time.
Well, when we had signed everything that was needed, we asked them not to let this go over the news until we had opportunity to go talk to our daughter, who was a nurse at a hospital nearly 40 miles away.
Our dear pastor prayed with us, and drove us to go tell our daughter. On the way, the little chorus ran and re-ran through my mind. "God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He's so good to me! " What an inner struggle on that 40 mile trip! The song would not stop running over and over in my mind and I was constantly condemning myself for allowing it to run in my mind. What kind of mother was I to feel that there was anything good that could come from the worst day of our lives?
I also thought back to 2 nights ago, when Vernon had led a girl down to the altar, and prayed with her to accept Jesus. If he had lived, surely he would have led more people to Christ! How could this possibly be God's will? (God is so good, kept ringing in my ears!)
We stopped at our daughter's farm, knowing she would want the love and support of her husband. He was in the field, but we were able to call him on the C.B. radio. I just asked him to please come up to the yard. He dropped his implement from the tractor, and was soon there. When he got down the steps, I stepped out of the car and announced "Vernon was killed this morning" There is no easy way to pass on news such as this was) Dave fell back against the tractor tires as if I had hit him with a a sledge hammer. I told him we wanted him to go with us to tell Linda. He ran to the house, and about 5 minutes, was washed and dressed in clean clothes. We drove on to the Mason City Hospital, and asked for our daughter to come to the lobby. I think it was Pastor, who talked to her supervisor, and she was soon there. When we told her, she screamed, leaned on me, and sobbed and sobbed, with a few little screams interjected. All of a sudden, she said, "I'm sorry, Mom, he was your son, and I'm leaning on you!" (Actually, it was helpful to comfort her at that moment) Her husband, Dave took over, bless his heart. She said to him, "Dave, we need to call our pastor" Dave replied, "I have already done that!" (I have never been able to understand how he gotten that all done, in the 5 minutes that he had taken to clean up)
Some things are foggy to me. I believe we made the funeral arrangements before going home that day. (I have no idea if we ate anything, or if we didn't!) By the time we were home, many neighbors dropped by to see if there was anything they could do. Some brought food, and were very kind.
I still carry one regret. One neighbor (who had lost a son about a year prior) threw her arms around me, cried with me, and then said, "I know just how you feel, you are mad at God" I was shocked, and pushed her back, stating, "I could never be angry with God". I really didn't remember this conversation until years later. Then, as the Holy Spirit is so adept at doing, I felt much convicted for my reactions. I went to her home to apologize. I know that different people react in different ways, and it was like giving her a slap in the face for trying to be a comfort! (I have read books which state that many people may react that way at first.) She was very gracious, and said she didn't even remember the situation, but I have asked God to forgive me for being so insensitive towards her at that time. Today, she has already passed away. I am so glad for the convicting of the Holy Spirit before it was too late!
That first evening when we went to bed, I wondered why we even went to bed. We were both completely washed out, but how were we going o sleep? I was crying, and told Paul that I could never sleep, as I felt that I'd been run over by a Semi-truck! He took me in his arms and said, "I know, I feel that way too; but we must pray and ask God to give us sleep, or we will never make it through the coming days." Both of us poured out our hearts to God, and, He was there in great power! We did go to sleep that night. Neither of us woke up until our usual time to rise. To me, that is a miracle that I cannot fully comprehend until this day. God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform!
My dear sister, Myrna, came every day before the funeral, and many days after. What a blessing to have had a sister like her! She was like a mother to me, and knew just how to be uplift to me, and such a help to get us through the days before and after the funeral. She worked with me to send out "Thank-you" cards, and helped me keep up my other work. Neighbors had brought in so much food that eating was no problem, other than I found myself in the living room, several times, with a half eaten, frozen sandwich in my hand. I did not remember when or why I had gotten it.
It was a Saturday morning when Vernon was killed, and we did our chores the next morning, and headed for Sunday school and church. There was no place on earth that would be as comforting as being in God's house, and hearing from His Word. It seemed to give us strength to go on living.
Of course, we had a private viewing day at the funeral home. I think I made my husband take me back to the funeral home 3 or 4 times that day. I may have been strong at first, but as Paul grew stronger, and stronger, I fell apart. As we stood there by the casket, I felt so weak, and trembling.
One of the most wonderful things my husband has ever said to me , in all our years of marriage(We will celebrate 60 years together this coming August, 2009) he put his arm around me, and said "I'm so sorry you lost your son!" Well, I knew he was hurting as bad as I was, and I'll never forget those words of comfort for me.
The day of the funeral arrived. As usual, I read the Bible that morning, and I happened to be in Psalms. I came across the verse in Psalms 94:19 KJV "In the multitude of my thoughts within me, they comforts delight my soul." What a wonderful God to give me that verse the day of Vernon's funeral.
When we set the day, I had not thought about it being our daughter, Linda, and her husband, Dave's wedding anniversary, but I did think about it that day, and was sorry that we had chosen that date.
Somehow, we made it until the funeral. The church ladies cooked a meal for those that would attend. The day of the funeral was another great miracle of a gracious God.
As our pastor preached the funeral message, the Spirit was so powerful in the church. His school mates were all there, and the church was packed.
Sometime later, we discussed that there were many moments when we forgot that it was our son's body in that casket. All I can say, "God was there!" At the close of the service Pastor McClun gave an invitation for all who would pledge to follow Vernon's God, to stand. It was just like a mighty wind, as people stood to their feet, all over the church. At the graveyard, pastor said a few words and we sang "Hallelujah!", and, once again, we could feel the presence of God. It was time for a final good-by, even though we knew he wasn't really there, it was the last we would see of where his body was placed.
In God's time, He has a way of healing the deepest of wounds. Writing this has made me understand even more of God's grace. Yes, it has brought back a lot of the pain, but today, it's easier to be thankful for the 18 years that we had him, and leave the rest to God, knowing that He makes no mistakes, knowing also, that when we really need God's presence, He is always there at the exact moment one needs Him!
We are both so thankful that God had given Paul the experience that I first wrote about. God revealed to him that we just need to serve God, and leave all the answers up to Him.
We, as parents do not fully appreciate the great gifts that God has given us in our children. We failed as parents so very many times; but I hope, the fact that we do love them, is a fact that is very apparent to them.
An elderly Christian who has learned to depend upon the Lord. He is sufficient to meet our needs in any circumstance of life. I only want to honor Him