London Christians are groaning mutely at a fearful providence that has humbled us all, particularly the family of Brad and Megan Franklin.
Brad is an American pastor of St Giles Christian Mission in north London. He has six young children (all under thirteen years old) and his wife, Megan, was expecting their seventh.
Three days after Christmas, Megan sustained a small cut, leading to a Group A Strep infection. Her brain swelled, causing catastrophic damage. Megan underwent a C-section and successfully gave birth to a sixth son, who is doing well.
However, Megan did not recover from her infection and tragically passed away on 6th January. Much prayer, support and money were soon offered, helping Megan’s bereaved relatives travel over from America.
Brad’s letters following his loss are blazingly bright, full of grief as well as some achingly poignant humour. He and Megan had been saving for a 20th wedding anniversary trip.
The accumulated cash remains in a money box hidden away in the kitchen. ‘Now what am I to do with the money?’ he asks, self-disparagingly. Brad also considered the funeral, praying that the nurses caring for his wife would come as they promised.
He writes, ‘I can think of a few things I’d like to see happen at this funeral, the first being that God’s people, with sad and joyful hearts, will belt out praise to our great God and Saviour. We want our attention to be on him today, and then and for ever’.
His letters are full of pathos, perplexity and praise. He is a mere Christian pastor, believing that God cannot harm him or those that are his, whatever the Lord may choose to do. What strength that example and conviction gives to us all who have the same heavenly Father.
Brad does ask for prayer for his own loneliness without Megan and for the ability to raise seven children by himself. He implores the women of the church concerning his daughter, ‘My only daughter is going to need some Titus 2 women.’
In one of his letters, Brad spends a final paragraph unpacking Ephesians 3:20-21: ‘Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen’.