Friday, September 10, 2010

Micah's Legacy, Part III: Taking the "risk" of loving

Third, God has used Micah’s death in my life so that I will not presume upon the future, but will take the risk of loving even in the full knowledge of the possibilities of loss and grief.

In his book, “Confessions of a Grieving Christian,” motivational speaker Zig Ziglar writes that experiencing deep grief following the death of a child is good in that it demonstrates a deep love for your lost children. Ziglar says that if you were not filled with grief, you would be filled with regret at never having taken full advantage of the opportunities to love your child. One of the most meaningful comments made to me during Micah’s wake came from a former co-worker of mine. She told Heather and me, “I have no doubt that no little boy was loved as well as Micah was loved by you; he was loved as well as he could have been.” As much as grief hurts, I am grateful that my life is not filled with regret at having never taken full use of our opportunity to love Micah.

Love is intended to be given. Unlike many other things in life, it cannot be stored up for later use. It is meant to be given away, and given away immediately. Ziglar says, “If you truly want to have a lot of love, you must continually give a lot of love.” Ziglar, Confessions of a Grieving Christian, p. 200. In 1 Corinthians 13:8, the Apostle Paul says, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” Paul tells us that the most excellent of the gifts is love. As I have previously written on this blog, our grief at Micah’s passing is as deep as our love for him.

But I am convinced that as much as we grieve over Micah’s sudden death, God does not want us to stop loving. For me, this means that while I continue to love Micah, I also “step out” into the currently unknown future of loving our second son Owen. We are “stepping out” into the unknown because, frankly, to love is to risk loss. Whenever you love, you are devoting your finances, your time, your skills, and your emotions towards the object of your affections without being guaranteed of a particular outcome. With children, to love is to want the very best for your children, to place your whole heart into them—into their physical needs, their education, their spiritual lives, their whole lives. And yet there is no guarantee that our children will outlive us. Or, perhaps even more significantly, there is no guarantee that our children will grow up to be the men and women that we pray that they become.

We take risks because we are finite and are ignorant of the future. The author of James says, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15. As with all parents, we had specific dreams for Micah. We hoped that he might grow up to like baseball, do well in school (especially history) and then attend Wheaton College (or, in Heather’s case, Seattle Pacific University). Until Micah was taken to the hospital by ambulance, there was never a moment when Heather and I thought it possible that we would lose our Micah.

But while we don’t know the future, God does. We take risks; God doesn’t. And not only does he know the future, he is orchestrating the future for our benefit and the benefit of our children. Pastor John Piper says, “Risk is right. And the reason is not because God promises success to all our ventures in his cause... The bottom-line comfort and assurance in all our risk-taking for Christ is that nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ.” Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, p. 89, 95. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said,“”Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” But love is worth the risk not merely because of any existential, “in the moment” benefit. The truth is that while Micah may be lost to us, he is not lost to God. God is sovereign. This means that God rules over both good circumstances and bad. God is just as likely to work good in us through the pain of grief as He is in the joy of hope fulfilled.

One of the legacies of Micah’s life and death is that it exploded any misconception of safety and comfort in our lives. In Christ, we can be assured that the end result of our “risking” love is ultimately for our own good. We can take the risk of loving again because God loves us and works all things together for our good.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I deeply learned the same things upon losing our first child to miscarriage. Some of your quotes and Scripture verses are the same exact ones that I have thought since losing our child.

    I pray Owen is blessing your life and helping you to heal each day. Thank you for not being afraid to share your story and reaching out to help others. God is good.

  2. Cory and Heather,

    As I read your posts, I continue to be grateful for the grace upon grace I see poured out on you two, by God, in the face of your deep loss of Micah.

    Others are being comforted by the comfort you yourselves have received from God (II Cor 1:4) as you make yourselves so transparent through this blog. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for sharing!!! We are still praying for the three of you! Blessings on your day!

    The Carey's