Monday, January 27, 2014

A Grieving Parent's Obedience

In Matthew 16, Jesus rebukes Peter for trying to suggest that Jesus should pursue anything other than to fulfill the Father’s calling for his life—a sacrificial death on the cross. Rather than calling us to a lap of luxury, Jesus tells Peter and those of us who have been called as His followers to “deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). About this death, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die.” In becoming His disciples, we are called to suffer for Him. The “deaths” we must die are different for every believer. Those of us who are grieving the death of one of our children have a difficult cross to bear. As demonstrated in numerous instances throughout the gospels, Christ holds the power of life, death and even resurrection. Since we lost a child, we have had to come to grips with the fact that, while Jesus held the power to save our child at the very moment of our child’s death, he chose not to heal our child. Unlike many grieving parents who grieve the fact that God wasn’t strong enough to save their children, we trust that our child died not because God could not save the child, but because our child’s physical death is a means (albeit a nasty, heinous, terrible one) allowed in order to achieve much greater purposes. In trusting in this greater good, we have to pick up our cross, daily, by casting aside our own dreams for ourselves and our children, and instead obeying God’s promises that His purposes for our lives and our child’s (shortened) life will, in full view of eternity, far exceed our own expectations. Will you pick up your cross and carry it with me on your own road to Golgatha, regardless of where it might light, in the sure hope and certainty that it will be worth the cost, in the ultimate end?

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