Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jesus, Bless Micah

Soon after Micah was born, Heather’s mom purchased a little ceramic cross, which we hung up in Micah’s room. The little cross reads, “Jesus, bless this little boy and keep him always in your care.”

During the first few months following Micah’s death, seeing and reading the cross occasioned a few moments of great anguish in my heart. I asked God, Was Micah really in your care? In those last moments when he could not breathe, were you, God, really caring for him? Were you, God, really blessing this little boy when his breath was stopped after so little time with his parents? Was it a blessing, God, to take him away from parents who loved him more than their own lives?

A well-meaning individual recently commented on one of my recent blog posts by leaving a poem about death and grieving. The poem intends to convey the notion that a deceased loved one, or at least our memories of them, lives on through our own sensory experiences. The poem states, in part, “I did not die…I am the sunlight on ripened grains..I am the autumn rain.” With respect, I must say that this is precisely what I DON’T take comfort in. All of my sensory experiences that I experience only bring more pain because of the fact that I am not experiencing life with Micah. If this world is all there is, there is absolutely no redeeming value to trying to remember our deceased in a positive manner because the permanency to the end of such a short-lived existence would be too great a burden for anyone to bear.

In these times of heartache, our only source for comfort is our faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has promised to resurrect Micah. The author of Hebrews tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. ” Hebrews 11:1. Rather than focus on what we see (the “sunlight on the ripened grain”) or hear (“the autumn rain), we trust in a loving and sovereign God who is working in our lives in ways that we cannot see, hear or touch. By the gift of faith, Heather and I have been able to rest the promise that God is blessing us even though we can’t necessarily see or taste or touch God’s goodness to us and to Micah.

Pastor Kenny Stokes has reminded me that many of the Biblical saints had very little understanding, during times of immense trial, of how God would use their faith for His kingdom purposes. For example, when Stephen was stoned, how could he have known that his stoning would help lead to the spread of the church? Indeed, the author of Hebrews summarizes how certain individuals in the Old Testament lived by faith despite the fact that they did not see the promises of God come to fruition during their earthly lifetimes. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16.

The Apostle Paul made no secret of the fact that, for those of us who do live by faith, our sufferings will bear no comparison to the glory at the resurrection. “…This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. C.S. Lewis, in comparing earthly suffering to heavenly glory, stated “They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” C.S. Lewis, Great Divorce, 64.

Rather than this little ceramic cross being the source of anguish, this little cross has become a reminder of God’s promises for us and for Micah. While we don’t know why He allowed this to happen, we trust that God is somehow blessing Micah and blessing us through the otherwise terrible events of the last week of July in 2009. I pray that those of us who call on the name of Christ resolve to live in the hope of the resurrection (“what is unseen”) rather than merely on what is "seen."

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    Over the course of the year I have followed your blog. Though I have not experienced the loss of a child, I do know what it is like to lose someone without warning. Here is what I know... sometimes it is hard to make sense of what seems senseless. Faith is what sustains us. And... people expect you to recover much sooner than it actually takes. Give yourself time... I believe it takes 3 years before you find complete joy on a daily basis. Before that you will experience set backs but it is all part of finding your new normal. Your faith will guide you... God Bless

    ReplyDelete