Devastating Loss of a Child and Grace for Eternity and Now

Vincent Van Gogh's Old Man in Sorrow
Vincent Van Gogh’s Old Man in Sorrow

[From the Archives of my old blog, August 19, 2008.

This was originally written about a friend two years ago but it has particular relevance for an old friend in a new situation. I first reposted this when Glen Kehrein of Circle Urban in Chicago lost his adult son (Nathan).

Glen himself has now gone to be with Jesus, a victim of cancer and the brokenness of our world. I repost it again today because the need is perennial. Hurting people need the hope of the gospel.]

Wondering about Pain & Sorrow & Grace & Eternity

I have some friends going through the valley of the shadow of death. Their world has crumbled.  Their heart’s are broken. Their spirit’s are reeling from the hammer blow of loss. Their son no longer breathes the air that comes into their lungs between sobs and gasps of agony.

Having three to hold when one is gone is a comfort but the loss still harrows the soul. Falling and falling and looking for something to grab to keep from falling, that’s how I imagine it.

But their pain isn’t imagined.   It’s real.

How do those who do not know Christ, do not know forgiveness, do not know that death has been conquered–how do they endure the pain of such losses? I don’t begrudge them drunkenness or the desire to escape. Nor apparently does God and the Scripture.

Proverbs 31:6-7 (ESV)

6  Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
7  let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

But to those who hope in Christ, there is a better balm for the soul.

1 Corinthians 15:53-58 (ESV)

53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable,
and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable,
and the mortal puts on immortality,
then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers,
be steadfast, immovable, …

Isn’t it magnificent to know, isn’t it soul-nourishing to know, that at the end of the day, good news or bad, losses as soul ripping as my friend’s are not beyond redemption because we live and move and have our being inside the greatest news ever announced. God is gracious and we are His and nothing can separate us from His love.  Nothing.

Not even the loss of a child.

Please pray for my friends. Pray that they would hold on to Jesus with everything they have on a day when they have less and more at the same time.


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