In November 2009, my world was changed forever when my father passed away. The man that had shaped so much of my life and had a significant investment in the way I lived and processed life was gone from me forever. Those of you who have lost a parent know that the pain is unlike anything else. Little did I know that within three short months the unthinkable would happen.
The first weekend of February was an exciting time for our family. We spent time at the supervisor’s home at our beloved Camp Courtney, in the mountains of North Carolina. Camp Courtney is a place that has been a source of life and healing for me personally for many years. On this particular weekend, we would be with the youth of our district for the annual winter retreat. As our older children participated in the events of the weekend, I was moving back and forth from being with them to being with my wife, Veronica, who was nurturing our youngest son, who wasn’t feeling too well. We had a delightful time sharing each other’s company and relaxing in the atmosphere of a place that we loved.
The next weekend, I kissed Veronica and said goodbye as I made my way to a speaking engagement. I had plans the following week to play golf with several friends in the North Carolina area. Veronica and our children traveled back to Atlanta and throughout the week, she wasn’t feeling well. She visited the doctor a couple of times thinking that maybe she picked up something from our son. In the middle of the week, she started feeling better, only to relapse toward the end of the week. I could never have imagined what would lie ahead of us.
By Saturday, Veronica was completely exhausted and a phone call from her caused alarm. I had our children take her to the emergency room and I rushed home. When I arrived at the emergency room, I found my family and from what the doctors told us, prepared myself for a short two to three day hospital stay as Veronica recovered from what we were told was the stomach flu. We would find out later that she actually had contracted the H1N1 virus and it had gone unchecked and untreated.
Just two short hours after my arrival, my precious wife of 24 years, went into cardiac arrest. Before I could imagine what was happening, she was gone from us forever.
Devastated, shocked and in disbelief, I went home with my four children. We sat together and cried through the night. We held each other not knowing what to say or what to do. At that point I wasn’t even sure that the sun would come up in the morning. I wasn’t really sure that it mattered.
The next few days would bring hundreds of people into our lives as we did our feeble best to make sense of what just happened. I had to say goodbye to the most precious person I have ever known, the love of my life, and the mother of my children.
The first few days after Veronica’s death didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I found myself quickly spiraling downward emotionally. I couldn’t grasp what we were going through or why. Our family seemed so perfect to me, and so protected from this type of tragedy. We prayed together, and we believed God for health, healing and wholeness. The last week of Veronica’s life, we prayed together every single day and stood on the Word, believing for her healing and believing and confessing long life on the earth.
Now, it seemed that God had let my children and me down and had failed us in the worst possible way. I wasn’t sure that I could ever recover from this. I wanted to pick up the Bible and find life, but I was afraid to. I had a deep sense that I would hear God tell me that everything was going to be okay, and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure that I wanted it to be okay.
Thankfully, friends that were with me recognized what was going on in me and they refused to let me go down that path. I was quickly reminded of God’s love, His sovereignty and His ability to carry us through this time. As I began to turn towards the voice of my Heavenly Father, and to His Word, I began to find life in the valley of the shadow of death.
In the midst of our devastation, life and love washed over my children and me. Thousands of people around the world were praying for us and we started feeling the power and the effect of those prayers. One particular day, the Lord spoke very directly to my heart saying that while He had not done this to my Veronica, He had allowed it to happen. As I pushed into the heart of God to know why He allowed it, He simply told me that it was because He loved us, and that He was incapable of allowing anything outside of His love.
Honestly, in the natural, I still can’t fully grasp that word of the Lord. But deep in my heart, I know that we are surrounded by His love and that He is walking every single day with us, touching us where we are most vulnerable. He is strengthening us for the journey that lies ahead without Veronica.
Throughout my life and ministry, I have sought hard after God for His anointing. I have come to know and understand the anointing as the supernatural enablement of God that exceeds my natural capacity. The anointing is designed to operate in every single arena of my life, not just when I am doing a ministry assignment, but in the way that I live my life. Recently, I found myself asking God to bring healing and wholeness into my life and into my family. I was absolutely surprised when the Lord spoke to me that what would sustain us through this season would be the anointing.
God reminded me of the scripture found in John 10:10, that even though the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, He has come that we might have life and have it in abundance! This is the anointing to live. Even in the midst of the greatest tragedy my family has ever known, I stand on the promise and the enablement of God towards the abundance of life. Surrounded daily with reminders of 24 amazing years, with an amazing woman, I hear God say to me that my best days and the best days of my children are still ahead of us. Only God can make a promise like that.
I’m not telling you today that we aren’t still hurting. We are. I’m not saying that there aren’t tough times and moments of breaking down. There are. What I am telling you is that God is the strength of our hearts. He is our promise of tomorrow and He is the hope and the joy that better days are ahead. The anointing to live is a promise, it’s a hope, and it’s a word of encouragement that no matter what we face in life, He will never leave us or forsake us. Many people reading this devotional have been through similar times, and many have not. My prayer for you today is that no matter where you are in life, and no matter what you face, and no matter how difficult the circumstances may be, that you will find the abundance of God’s love, His grace, mercy, forgiveness and strength as you stand on His Word and walk in the anointing to live.
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank our Foursquare family for the outpouring of love that my family has experienced. The thousands of cards, phone calls, well wishes and most importantly the prayers have sustained us in ways that we could never have imagined. We are strong today because of the love of the Father and because of the family of believers who have stood with us and beside us.
We are doing well and strengthening day by day. We love you and thank God for all that each of you have meant to us in the last few months. We look forward to walking this journey out with you until that great day when we all stand before His throne, never to say goodbye again. God bless you.
Scott Reece serves The Foursquare Church as supervisor of the Southeast District.