I recently read excerpts from a book called “A Severe Mercy” written by a man named Sheldon Vanauken following the death of his wife, Davy as he called her. Sheldon and Davy were not believers when they met and were married but they ended up becoming friends with C.S. Lewis and partly through his testimony and writings they both become believers.
Davy (the wife) however, was the stronger believer, passionately in love with Jesus and her husband less so. So, one day Davy prayed that God would do whatever it took to reach her husband and make him passionate for God, even if it meant her own death. And less than 2 years later Davy became ill and died.
Working through his grief and being counseled by C.S. Lewis who had also undergone the death of his wife, Sheldon came to realize that the death of Davy was in fact a merciful act of God. A severe mercy as he and C.S. Lewis put it. Sheldon knew that Davy was more passionate for the things of God and was beginning to realize that his wife loved her Savior more than she loved her husband and for him that was going to become unacceptable.
You see, Sheldon realized that he was envious for Davy’s love and wanted her exclusively for himself. He didn’t want to share her with anyone or anything, including children. He realized that had Davy lived his love for her would have quickly turned to anger, bitterness, and even hatred bc she no longer belonged solely to him. She had another lover, one he could never compete with and instead of joining Davy in her love for God and her passionate pursuit of Him, Sheldon would have probably begun to hate God for taking the place of Davy’s primary love. Their marriage would have likely been destroyed and his eternity in shambles- if Davy had lived.
But, in act of severe mercy God removed from Sheldon’s life the one thing that stood between Sheldon and his God – his wife. It is a hard concept and a painful idea but the reality is God is God and in His mercy, He will sometimes make it very clear to us. There is no other god but ME.
May God be this merciful to us and as painful as this event can be, may we learn there is no other god but HIM.