BY JAN HARRISON
I WAS HOME, working in my office, when I heard the sound of hard-sole dress shoes on the hallway floor. I turned to see my husband, Frank, standing in the doorway. Without a word, he motioned for me to come with him to our bedroom. When he turned around, the pain on his face told me that something was horribly wrong. He whispered, “Jan, we lost James today.”
In an instant, with no warning, everything in our lives changed. My heart split in two while my mind tried to process the news that our only son was dead. He was in Africa, thousands of miles away from us. All I knew was scant information from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. “I’m sorry to inform you that your son, James Franklin Harrison IV, is dead.” James had been oversees assisting a local pastor in ministry in a small town on the Kenya-Tanzania border. My first thought was, “Oh my God, what are we going to do?”
They Strike Us All
Almost every day, I’m reminded that no formula ensures a trouble-free life. Some people think that (if they work hard, do good, and be their best) they’ll avoid life’s storms. But that isn’t true. In John 16:33, Jesus warned, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (Living Bible).
A friend of mine recently shared with frustration, “I worked hard in school, scored well on entrance exams, was accepted into a prestigious university, built an impressive resume, and climbed to the top in my profession. How can it be possible to be jobless?” On a recent flight, I sat next to a man who shared his story: “My company was doing well and life was very good for my family – until I discovered that my assistant had embezzled everything. It all came crashing down. Now I’m broke, my family is ashamed, I have no friends, and there is nothing I can do but try to scratch my way out of this.” No matter how carefully we manage our world and methodically plan, we can’t prevent every unpleasant thing from happening. The Bible cautions that we’ll face trials and sorrows, but God can help us overpower every storm.