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.