"I will go to him..." 2 Samuel 12:23
Dedicated to Darren and Becky Frame
My wife and I took a week to visit our daughter in Phoenix. She has recently become engaged and there was an engagement party we attended at her 'to-be' in-laws house. Close friends of our daughter and her fiance, as well as friends to her fiance's parents were invited. A day or two before the event, the family experienced a tragedy: their younger son, Jared, had been in a recent mountain biking accident which seemed to be the catalyst for a cascading sequence of events which led to his death just yesterday. Needless to say, his family must be devastated. Sandra and I are heart-broken for them. Our daughter has spent many hours with the family through this crisis, and I'm sure she has seen the reality of their hurt and loss.
Losing a child to death has to be the hardest earthly experience a parent can know. My own parents experienced the loss of their next to youngest daughter (I grew up with six sisters). I'll never forget their anguish over her death, even though it was a blessing in so many ways - she had been incapacitated from the effects of a radical new treatment for brain cancer. Though she lived an extra ten years, she was completely paralyzed from the cheeks down the last two years of her life. Other than experiencing the death of a spouse, I can't fathom a more significant loss to one's heart.
King David and Bathsheba experienced such a loss with their first child. Though conceived out of wedlock, the child was evidently healthy. It became ill and David spent countless hours in prayer for the child - even going without food and laying all night on the bare ground. (23:15-16) The child died on the seventh day of the illness, after which "...David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate." (v. 20)
His advisers observed how David had refused food during his entreaties to God and questioned his thinking on his behavior after the child died. David's response reflects a world view which affirms life after death, and the hope of eternity:
"I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, 'Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.' But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me." (v.'s 22-23)
"I will go to him..." is an affirmation of faith in agreeing with God's good purposes, though we may not understand them at the time. Jared's parents are fellow Believers, who have exercised their parental assignment of bringing their children up in the Lord's Way - teaching them to pray, loving them, disciplining them, and providing for their needs... all in an effort to point them to Jesus, our Savior.
Jared has experienced eternal healing, as those who profess Christ will experience one day. Yes, Darren and Becky, you will see your son again. Andrew, you will see your brother again. Family and friends, you can be assured of this promise when you have placed your faith in Christ. God's Word assures the blessing of comfort to those who mourn (Mt. 5:4), and gives us further encouragement in such times:
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with My righteous right Hand. For I, The Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I Who says to you, fear not, I am the One Who help you." Is. 41:10&13
"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words." 1 Th. 4:13-18 NIV
"Trust in the Lord at all times you people, pour your heart out to Him, God is a refuge for us." Ps. 62:8
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles..." 2 Co. 1:3-4
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Re. 21:4
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ps. 34:18
" Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes, even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an expressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Pt. 1:3-9
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms... I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am." Jn. 14:1-4
"...the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Co. 15:52-57
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants." Ps. 116:15
We may have difficulty in seeing death as precious. However, in God's economy, He values our eternal souls so highly, that our entry into heaven is a glorious celebration.
O the wonders we will behold!