When a boy runs to serve and obey with such loving enthusiasm he is a man of God regardless of his age.
Little less than a year ago my family found and continues to be blessed by a family that has been—almost from the moment of our meeting—so much more than friends. They are as much my family as are my own blood. Our bond runs deep in the one Spirit that unites us.
Last week, while I was out of the country, this dear and precious family lost their young son. A boy whose name literally means “energetic servant” and who lived up to the fullness of that meaning in the short, almost three years of his life. I know that most of you who find joy in reading these posts I write don’t know me personally. Of those who do know me, most don’t know this family and never had the privilege of meeting this small servant with great, big energy. I do not write of him today “for” anyone else in particular, but truly for my own need to consider his life, learn from his heart, and celebrate the hope we cling to. It’s my prayer that you are encouraged as well by these words of reflection. Thank you for the grace this space provides me to write and reflect on this journey we are taking—both the joys and the immense pains of it.
There are times in life when we must press hard into the truth of Scripture and continually preach the gospel to ourselves. This is one of those times and the hope of the resurrection has never been so sweet and so desperately needed.
There is a part of me that feels guilty at the desire to write about this loss. I feel selfish, as if I am simply seeking to soothe my own raw heart, looking only to bring comfort to my moment of pain. But I know, even as I write, that this simply isn’t true. I don’t presume to hurt most for losing him—in truth my greatest pain is for his sweet mother and strong father whose pain I can scarcely fathom. They have always loved him with such unabashed passion and joy, just as they have always loved his precious sister.
Watching them grieve and cling to the truth and weep and reel in the pain has been heart wrenching. It has been my honor to come along side them in meager attempts to love them through it, knowing that I can say nothing of value but the truth of Scripture. I can offer nothing but a clarion call to the cross of Jesus. I can give no words to soothe but the promise of resurrection.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15:42-40
The resurrection. That is what brings hope and help in this dark and muddied time of pain. The perishable and the broken can so easily fill the view these days. The most unnatural of all things—death—can seem to be all. It is not. I will remember. I will proclaim. The dead will be raised when Jesus comes.
As I said in opening, this boy ran to serve and loved to give of himself. He obeyed by his father’s own recalling, with the words, “Yes, my daddy!”
Constantly quick to say I love you and always proud to sing of God’s love for him, this young servant of God knew of the joys of love; love that only comes from God. He did not argue theology or explain with profundity the finer points of God’s character, but he lived in the freedom and generosity of his Father’s love. As his parents testify and I have witnessed, he ran everywhere. After all, if you’re going, why not get there quick? And so he ran everywhere, even into the arms of his eternal Father, arriving much sooner than any here would have chosen.
I love this boy and I love his family. I will remember him and share stories of him with my children, listening to their stories as well. I will listen to the stories his parents remember or the ones his sister recites. We will cry and we will laugh and we will love him on and on. And we will wait eagerly for the day when resurrection comes alive. When reunion is made complete and restoration is given by the Creator Savior. We will hope and we will remember and we will cling to the truth of things made right and salvation made complete. Resurrection is coming because our Lord is coming.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
Until then, we will groan. Things here just aren’t right. Dying, just isn’t right. We will groan and we will weep and we will hurt. But we will hope. We will hope because we are waiting. Waiting for adoption, waiting for redemption, waiting for resurrection.
Come Lord Jesus.