Saturday, December 02, 2006

Making Preparations

On Thanksgiving Day, my Dad and I went by the cemetery to check on the grave of my son, Benjamin. We spent a few moments walking through the cemetery talking about life and the difficulties of this past year. As we walked, we looked at old tombstones. There were many from the mid to late 1800s and one particular family plot caught our eye. In 1887, this family experienced significant loss. In January they lost an 8 year old son, and in July they buried a still born baby girl. The pain of a still birth is certainly fresh on the heart of our family and we talked about how hard it would be to lose an 8 year old child, needless to say, how hard it would be to lose both children in the same year.

This week, one of our four year olds, Isaac, has been battling an infection and cold. One evening his fever grew to be fairly high. As I held him, his hot little body actually caused me to sweat. While I was holding him I began thinking about our walk through the cemetery and how I would respond if we were to lose him or his brother or sister. The conclusions I drew were that we would only persevere if we were prepared to handle such difficult heartbreak. Now, please know that I am not trying to wish for this to happen, but we would only deal with the situation in a God-honoring way if preparations had been made. The following are two preparations I think are important.

First, I must know and trust that God is sovereign. I must know there is nothing that happens today or tomorrow that will be a surprise to God. (Psalm 139:16) I must know that God never goes off-duty. (Psalm 121:3-4). I must know that because I am a child of God, He is working all things for my good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) I must know that God will protect and keep me through every situation in life. (2 Timothy 1:8-14) I must know that I am loved by a Savior that understands the joys and pains of my heart. (Hebrews 2:17-18) I must meditate on these truths every day of my life. (Psalm 77)

Second, I must work to teach my children about this Savior. As a father, my primary role must be to teach my children about God. (Deuteronomy 6:4-8) I must be intentional in building markers in my children’s lives that will point them to the goodness and faithfulness of God. (Joshua 4:1-7) I must pray that God will help my children see that He is to be their help and strength. (Lamentation 2:19) I must remember that Jesus does care deeply about children having a relationship with Him and so must I. (Matthew 19:14)

As much as I hope a dreadful day such as this does not come, even more, I pray that if it does, by God’s grace, I will be prepared.


Anonymous said...

What a comfort to read your blog today. A year ago to this day is when we lost Justin and Danny & I know it is going to be very hard to get through today. I was amazed to see what your blog was about, although I know I shouldn't have been. God alone is what brought me through last December and He is still my Comforter-using an email message to do it! I pray for you and Monica as you continue to grieve for Benjamin.
God's grace to you both,
Shelli Abston

Robert Tarrence said...

Hey Brandon,

What a great preception! Having some relationship with some of your former church members, I know of the heartache your family has been through this year. So often, the clouds of emotion dim our view of what is really important.

God was not taken by suprise by the situations of life you and your wife faced this year or any other, or any of the rest of us as far as that goes. God is sovereign and there are some valleys we go through that our faith may be refine. Now we can see the perfect working of a loving God who has enabled you (through personal trial) to be able to give such sound truth and encouragement to others.

We praise God and thank Him for you.

Brandon said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and inviting us to your blog. These thoughts cross my mind at times, especially as it comes to teaching my children about our Lord and teaching them to see the world through the lens of Christ. Thank you for reminding me how important this is.

In His hands,
Brandon A. Bradley

Robert Duvall said...

“The most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.” – A.W. Tozer

You have experienced and understand God in a way that most will never know. Thank you for enabling my world to slow down so that I could appreciate and embrace the sovereignty of our mighty God.

Jeri said...

Brandon, I saw your post mentioned at Challies and came over to read...when I read about your loss and your trust in God, I thought about a quote from a book I just read, "The Hidden Smile of God" by John Piper; he is talking about John Bunyan, and he says,

"There have always been, as there are today, people who try to solve the problem of suffering by denying the sovereignty of God--that is, the all-ruling providence of God over Satan and over nature and over human hearts. But it is remarkable how many of those who stand by the doctrine of God's sovereignty over suffering have been those who suffered most and who found in the doctrine the most comfort and help."

How true that is. May the sovereign and good God comfort and encourage the hearts of all your loved ones as you look to Him who loves us more than we can comprehend.

Jeri Tanner