At the vibrating buzz, I flipped open my cellphone…
and Orpha is in ICU. They were visiting Wisconsin.
I stared. Icy fingers squeezed my heart, bent my mind, twisted my emotions. How do you process a message like that? Rereading it carefully changed nothing.
My spirit reached out to the unerring Father, petitioning for His best for Orpha. He answered with exactly that.
Two weeks and a day after that Providential wreck, hundreds of us met at Zion Mennonite Church. Two caskets held the vacated temples we knew as James Smucker and Orpha Tice Smucker. The Sovereign One had called; they had answered. Again.
From Zion, those two boxes were borne to the cemetery behind their home congregation, Hopewell Mennonite Church. And there still lie the no-longer-needed remnants of vessels once used to bear “this treasure” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Immediately south of those boxes, another one put there long ago for James’ first wife, Joan. On that Great Day, they three will come forth “at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14). Called again. Answering again.
I’m sure they want you to be part of that event with them.
Their granddaughter Kaitlynn looks back to those events with the God-given assurance that her loved ones are safely Home “where they belong”:
My grandparents died not long ago,
A car accident took them away,
But it wasn’t an accident to God,
He took them Home to stay.
It makes us sad—we loved them so,
And their love for us was strong,
But God knows the very best,
And He took them to where they belong.
Sometimes we don’t know why things happen,
But we know Jesus always does right,
And we know the death of His faithful saints,
Is precious in His sight.
We know they are happy in heaven,
More joyful than they could be here,
For they are with Jesus, safe and loved,
Where God wipes away every tear.
© Copyright Kaitlynn Yoder, then 10
May Kaitlynn and all the rest of James and Orpha’s family members know yet more of God’s abounding grace and restoring comfort. May they continue to find God’s balm more than sufficient to the needs of their hearts.
In closing, something I posted three nights after the wreck: Flowers for Friends Afar