It was six years ago this date, September 19, 2007, that as a parent I received the worse news ever. My son Sergeant Eddie Jeffers had been killed in Iraq. As a parent of an Infantry soldier and especially as a retired Army First Sergeant, I was more aware of the possibility of losing my son Eddie than most military parents. That knowledge did not soften the blow when the news arrived.
However, something did soften the blow, and not just for me but for the rest of our family. It was the knowledge that Eddie had given his life to the Lord Jesus Christ when he was 13 and now he was in heaven with our King. Yesterday the Lord gave me a revelation that I did not know I needed. It was an affirmation returned to me that I gave to Rafael Cruz last Sunday morning.
For those of you who may not know, Rafael Cruz is the father of Senator Ted Cruz. We had a slight break in our Sunday prayer breakfast, so I headed to the restroom. Pastor Cruz saw me leaving the room and said, “You look like a man who knows where the restroom is; I’ll follow you!”
While we were washing our hands, I looked at Pastor Cruz and said, “Thank you for coming to speak at our prayer breakfast and I just want you to know that your son is evidence of the truth of Proverbs 22:6, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’” He looked and pointed to heaven and said, “Glory to God!”
Amen. The affirmation that was returned to me is that my son Eddie gave that same evidence. And as I was looking over Proverbs 19 this morning (and I took a sneak peek last night), I came across this verse:
“Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.” (Proverbs 19:18)
The literal transliteration of “on his destruction” reads “to put him to death.” The footnote to verse 18b says that “a Jewish tradition reads on his crying.” All three translations should challenge parents to correct our children “while there is hope.”
How soon should we begin teaching our children about the Lord Jesus Christ? Isaiah says while they are still babies:
“Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” (Isaiah 28:9)
I have received many kind words over the years since Eddie first wrote his famous article “Hope Rides Alone” and after his death. I have and I must continue to answer in the same manner as Pastor Cruz. I must look and point to heaven and say, “Glory to God!”
It is to God’s glory that we raise our children in the ways of God’s precepts. I know of people who do not want to have children because they do not want to have to raise them in this world. That is such a sad perspective to have. While it can be daunting raising a child in this world, parents should concentrate on raising them in hope.
Some parents give up on raising their children in a godly manner. Some get a late start. While there is no guarantee your children will follow the path of righteousness you lay out for them, it is guaranteed if you don’t they certainly will not follow it:
“He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.” (Proverbs 17:21)
My son and my two daughters are a source of great joy to me. One of the biggest things I miss about Eddie is our talks and how he would call me and say, “Dad, I need some of your wisdom.” That delighted my heart in ways I’ve never experience before or since. And wouldn’t you know it? The Bible has an explanation for that:
“My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself; yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things.” (Proverbs 23:15-16)
Today is a day of remembrance. Saturday at our 6th Annual Hope Rides Alone Banquet in honor of Eddie we will celebrate Eddie’s life. We don’t do memorials; we celebrate not only the life Eddie lived here on earth, but also and more importantly the eternal life he began on September 19, 2007.
What kind of life will you live in eternity?
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers