He Will See You Through

by | May 21, 2007 | Death, Family, Parenting, Presence

In 1981, Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” was breaking sales records all across America. So popular was the book that it became the subject of many college courses, focus and study groups, and eventually it passed over 4 million copies in sales.

For inquiring minds, an equally intriguing book could be written titled, “When Good Things Happen To Bad People.”

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, my parents had every reason to ask the second question. They struggled to feed six children and Mother’s health was so poor that she spent much of the time in bed, too ill from pernicious anemia to care for her family.

The final blow came when Daddy lost his job on the Lehigh Valley Railroad. I was a newborn baby with a mother almost too weak to nurse me. My oldest sister said the strongest memory she had of me as an infant was of my crying hour after hour from hunger pains because there was so little milk.

If ever a couple had occasion to question God, it was my parents at this time of their lives. They had established Christ as the head of our home, were faithful tithers, yet were not spared the vagaries and cruelties of the Depression that caused thousands to jump from multi-storied building to their early deaths all across America.

Unable to pay his house payments, facing foreclosure and lacking only $500 to pay off the mortgage, Daddy approached his older brother, Irvin, about a loan. Uncle Irvin held a position of prominence at IBM and had been impacted little, if any, by the Depression.

“Indeed not!” Uncle Irvin raged. “If you hadn’t been giving money to the church all these years you wouldn’t be in the financial straits you are now.

Without his aid, Mother and Daddy lost their home and we moved into a rental property.

Hearing that story later as a young girl, I asked Mother why she and Daddy weren’t bitter toward Uncle Irvin or worse, mad at God. When Uncle Irvin visited our home, he was always warmly greeted and showered with love. My parents harbored no malice.

Mother had memorized a four-line poem that, along with her unwavering faith and close walk with God, enabled her to look past their present circumstances to a time when God would relieve their economic stresses and give them financial stability:

“When I see the wicked prosper in their sinning

And the righteous dealt with many a cruel fate,

I remember this is only the beginning

And I whisper to my spirit, “Only wait.”

Though they never owned a home, never drove a car, my parents used their meager income to help six of their seven children through college. One became a banker. Another a teacher. Two became Christian missionaries to Africa and the Philippines, one became a pastor’s wife, and two rose to the highest rungs of their corporate ladders in business and finance.

My parents set a standard of Christian conduct for themselves that their children strove hard to emulate. We never heard them question God. We witnessed them reading their Bibles and praying regularly. We never saw any evidence of envy or jealousy on their part. They stayed the course and never wavered in their faith. Not even once.

Sadly, during their forty years of marriage before cancer claimed the life of my father, they were never blessed financially. They struggled but they made it. And accepting state or government assistance would have been unthinkable to them. They had purposely laid up their treasures in heaven where neither thieves nor moths could corrupt, and they lived simple but godly lives.

One day as a young adult, I sat on the front porch with my father watching my two young sons playing on the lawn. Reaching over to hug me, Daddy said softly, “I am the richest man in the world. All our children are grown, are happy and doing well. We are blessed.”

But not as blessed as their children were in having them for parents.

Mariane Holbrook mariane777@bellsouth.net


He Will See You Through