Testimony: Bob & Pam Jung
Elmbrook Church - February 9th & 10th, 2008
BOB: Good evening/morning. I’m Bob Jung and this is my wife, Pam. We’d like to take a few moments to give you a brief glimpse into our journey with Jesus, and how we are experiencing God’s gradual healing in our lives.
Ten years ago we didn’t know one another. In our first marriages, I had two sons and Pam had two sons and a daughter. Our families both attended Elmbrook, we lived within a few miles of one another, our children attended the same elementary school and went to youth group at Elmbrook together, but we had never met.
PAM: Beginning in the mid-90’s, each of us entered a completely unexpected series of deep losses in our individual lives. My husband of 23 years left our marriage suddenly, my brother died of AIDS, my brother-in-law died from cancer, one of my children attempted suicide and went through alcohol and drug abuse before he was diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder, my boss committed suicide and my first grandchild was born 3 mos. premature, weighed 2lbs.10 oz. and was given a 50/50 chance of survival.
BOB: At the same time, my wife of 15 years left our marriage son, who was just beginning high school, while I attempted to run our family business that I was the president of.
PAM: In 1998 Bob and I met while attending a support group, which consisted of eight adults and two Christian therapists
BOB: After we attended group for eight months we began dating and were married in May of 2000. We are so thankful that God has brought us together.
PAM: Even though we’ve been happily married, it continues to be a journey filled with unexpected crises and changes. In 2003 the home at our family farm burned down while in the
final weeks of remodeling. Fortunately no one was hurt but the home was a complete loss and needed to be rebuilt.
Meanwhile, our blended family of adult children continued to bond and family gatherings were filled with sibling hugs and “I love you’s”. We were so proud in 2006 when three of our children graduated from college.
Jim from UWM with a Bachelors degree in Operations and Production Management.
and John with a M.D. and MBA.
BOB: Our children were all off and running in their careers.
On Sunday, August 27, 2006 our phone rang at 4:25 AM. “Bob Jung?" "Yes." "This is Dr. Polumbo, I am an emergency room doctor; are you sitting down?" “Yes.” "I am with Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. Mr. Jung I have some bad news; your son, John has died. He was brought in earlier in complete cardiac arrest, I tried for a very long time to bring him back but we never could get his heart started again. I am so very sorry. Is there anything I can do for you right now? “How did he die?” “It was from an adverse reaction to cocaine combined with alcohol.”
February 24, 1978 - August 27, 2006
PAM: As I watched and listened to Bob having that conversation, I knew from the look on his face and the sound of his voice that something tragic had happened to one of our loved ones. When he hung up the telephone, he looked at me with a look I’ll never forget…it was the look of utter sorrow and shock…he simply said, “John is dead.” We cried and prayed together and asked God for strength to walk through everything that was ahead of us. We continue to depend on God for strength to live each day without John.
From the very first time I met John, we had a close relationship. We’d talk together for hours, and frequently he would thank me for coming into his life, bringing my children into his life, and for loving his father. I loved John and feared for his life, and I told him that repeatedly.
BOB: In the first stage of grief you are in SHOCK. That Sunday morning and for months to come we needed to be ministered to, we had nothing to fall back on but Christ; all earthly things didn’t matter. Life went on but we were stuck with the wide range of pain and emotions surrounding the loss of our son.
PAM: Since John’s death a year-and-a half ago, I have gone through many days of emotional pain so searing that I felt I’d have a nervous breakdown. For the first six months, most of the time I cried, wrote in my journal, poured my heart out to my close friends, and cried out to Jesus for healing for my broken heart and frayed nerves. I’ve held onto a few verses from the Bible and recited them over and over. One of my favorites is where Jesus tells us that one of the reasons He came to this earth is to heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds. I prayed for this, and ever so slowly I am experiencing evidence that He is in the process of bringing His healing into my body, spirit, mind, and soul. It’s very slow from my human perspective, but I’m confident that since He loved me enough to die for me, He loves me enough to put the pieces of my life back together in a way that will honor God and help others who are hurting.
Repeatedly, Bob and I thank God that we have each other to walk through this with. We’ve tried to give each other respect and emotional and physical space to grieve. We all grieve differently, and we know that we rarely will be at the same place in the grief process at the same time.
BOB: Since John’s death I have needed to talk and not hide behind the pain. Part of this has been sharing this story with countless others, another was journaling so that I could get
it out and another was developing a Family Outreach Website that is healing for me while it is continually being developed. It is encouraging to us to hear from the many people it has been a comfort
to; a mother we don’t know writes us in despair because she just found out her teenage son has been doing heroin for 2 ½ years, others write who have recently lost a child to a drug overdose, the son
of a pastor emails to talk about his cocaine use and struggle with his faith. We have had the opportunity to speak to middle and high school students and their parents and have been invited to speak
at a church in Texas.
In II Corinthians I Paul speaks about God’s comfort and how He will comfort us in our circumstances so that we may comfort others. We would have never believed we would be sharing the loss of our son with others and be speaking about the loving and healing God we have experienced.
I have become profoundly aware that God knows what I am going through because He too allowed His Son to die; to die for John, to die for Pam and I, to die for all of us. I have also become aware that in suffering God has allowed us to join Him in something He Himself has been burdened with.
The paradox of suffering along with Christ is this: It is something we would never ask for, if we could we would give it away, yet suffering is a season that God lets us experience because He loves us and without going through this time we would not be equipped for Him to use us to comfort others.
Yes, we are still weary. Yes, we are still grieving, but we are healing. Suffering is painful, comfort is appreciated and God’s love is priceless. Life will not be happy all of the time, maybe not most of the time, but know that through your pain you can join hands with a God who knows, a God who has been there and a God that commits to love you forever; the result, Peace.