As many of you know Steven Curtis Chapman and his family went through a terrible ordeal a while back. They lost their little girl in an accident; the details I will not go into. Losing a child is a terrible thing no matter the age, but losing one so young to me seems almost unbearable.
While I was in Las Vegas I met a precious man; very quietâ€¦he looked rather well offâ€¦just my observation.
He waited on the side as I signed books and DVDs and when there was a break he came up and shook my hand. He wanted to say God bless you to me and that he would be praying for my family tonight. He told me that he lost his child while just a baby. I told him that I had met another man from Texas who had lost his little boy at age two. I told this man that I believed his loss to be far greater than mine.
You see I had Eddie for 23Â½ years and I have a full lifetime of memories of my boy. My weekend in Nevada further verified the impact Eddieâ€™s life had on the world. I told this fine man that it had to be difficult to wonder what if with a child lost so young.
Steven Curtis Chapman recently came out with an album titled â€œBeauty Will Riseâ€ and some are describing his songs as modern day psalms. I couldnâ€™t agree more and the title song has been playing through my mind and heart since yesterday morning as I listened to it while writing my Sunday school lesson.
Steven writes poignantly about the pain and horror first experienced in the initial realization your child is gone:
It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed til my voice was gone
And watched through the tears as everything
came crashing down
Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
and sift through the ashes that are left behind
If we are left with just these words, such a tragedy is too great to overcomeâ€¦but he continues:
But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
we have this hope:
Hope? What hope could possibly be buried in such a grievous time? The Book of Job is one that describes great grief and family loss and yet at the very beginning we see a man with hope:
â€œThen Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: â€˜Naked I came from my motherâ€™s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.â€™ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.â€ (Job 1:20-22)
How does one keep his or her faith when beset with such anguish? You look to the futureâ€¦more from Stevenâ€™s song:
Out of these ashes… beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes… beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning…
in the morning, beauty will rise
Notice he didnâ€™t write beauty has risen, but beauty will rise. How do you know beauty will rise and that you will dance among the ruins? How does knowing you will see Jesus with your own eyes allow for joy in the morning?
Do you know my Jesus?
â€œFor His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.â€ (Psalm 30:5)
We have a God who knows what it is to mourn bitterly. We have a God, a Heavenly Father, who lost a Son who was perfect in every way, a Son He had to forsake while dying on a cross. Imagine yourself willfully turning your back on your only begotten son.
I recall the first time I read the following passage in the New Testament I thought it almost odd:
â€œBeloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christâ€™s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.â€ (1 Peter 4:12-14)
To suffer as Christ and to count it all joy seems such an odd and unwanted experience, and yet having gone through the loss of a child I can honestly say, I almost canâ€™t believe I’m writing this, I would not trade it away.
My son Eddie knew the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal savior. Steven Curtis Chapmanâ€™s little girl also knew Jesus as Savior. It is in the midst of such tragedy that we not only know that our loved one is in heaven, but that if we too know Christ as Lord and Savior then there will be a great reunion in the sky.
Or as Steven Curtis Chapman writes:
I can hear it in the distance
and it’s not too far away.
It’s the music and the laughter
of a wedding and a feast.
I can almost feel the hand of God
reaching for my face
to wipe the tears away, and say,
“It’s time to make everything new.”
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Copyright Â© 2010 David Jeffers