Monday, May 16, 2005

A few thoughts on the death of a child

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15

Today we heard of the death of the 23-year-old son of an elder at our church. Not really sure what happened, just didn't wake up Saturday morning.

News like this hits me differently now that I'm a parent, too. My first thought was, I hope he was saved; I can't imagine living without knowing if my child had accepted Christ or not (on a happy note, I did hear later that, yes, he had). I recalled an earlier conversation in Sunday School on the topic of baptism and how we entrust these little ones to God and anticipate, even expect, that he will bring to fruition his promise to us to be faithful to us and our children.

I also was fearful. Dozens of "what ifs" sprang into my mind. What if Luke grows up and dies young? What if he doesn't even get to grow up? What if I die and leave him without a mother? What if he turns to drugs and alcohol, as this young man had? What if he rejects our teachings and faith? What if I don't do enough to teach him about Jesus' death and resurrection for us? What if . . .

But then I remembered something I had read just last night from a book an aunt gave us when Luke was born of prayers, verses, and sayings about raising children. I had read, "Suddenly I realize that the sheer intensity of my love cannot protect this child from the perils of life. Spinal meningitis. Playground tragedies. Traffic accidents. God, I cannot stand it. My chest contracts with unborn grief. My breath comes quickly. To risk love is to risk loss. Shadows stretch across the living room and across my mind. And then I hear it. The still, small voice saying gently, deep inside, 'You're not a proud owner. You're a trusted caretaker. This is My child, and I've lent him to you. Love him dearly, but hold him freely. Trust Me for the days ahead.'" (Sandra Bernlehr Clark in A Mother's Touch) My worries cannot change what God wills and most definitely will not help me to trust God for his provision.

So I look at my sleeping boy now, who has so much ahead of him, and anticipate, even expect, God to do great things with him. To complete the work he has started here. And in anticipating this, to worry would be to sin, for to do so would be to mistrust a God who has already proven himself to be faithful and disobey his command to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It is so hard to "hold freely" what we love so dearly.

"Dear God, help me to put my baby in Your hands each day of his life. You are his only safety, Lord. I know You love him even more than I do, and I trust You to care for him all the days of his life, no matter what. When worries attack me, remind me to give each fear to You. Thank You for the peace You give my heart."


Uncle Bob said...

Very cool prayer Kate. I think even I, who dosen't have kids can pray that. The part about giving our fears to God, and knowing He is in control is important, for mothers as well as college students who don't know what they are doing or going to do. Give Luke a hug for me.

Dad said...

My dear Katie, you are one of the proofs in my life that the God I serve is faithful. My grandfather, Jacob, told me when I made my public profession of faith that Proverbs 3:5,6 would be a good motto for my life. Seeing your acknowledgement of the importance of those verses in your life reminds me that we are part of the golden chain that God forges over generations, a chain made of faithful Christian servants. Luke is the newest link in a long chain of Christian families.