The doctor says, “Congratulations! It’s a boy!” The excitement and exhaustion of delivering your baby fills you. Joy floods your heart at the same time as fear, as your baby is 5 weeks early. What will happen next? A few days later the doctor comes in and says, “We’re sorry, but your son has Down Syndrome.” Your dreams of a healthy child are dashed one more level down. What will you do?
You receive a phone call from a dear friend that her dad has just died. You cry with her and grieve as he was also known to you as “Daddy O” and “Grandpa O” to your son. How are you going to tell your son who is away at work that this man he knew as grandpa was now dead?
We talked about getting together several times, but we never put it on the calendar and made definite plans. Now it’s too late. We learned the cancer had taken over her entire body even her brain. She no longer had control of body function and couldn’t even remember her husband. Now she is gone. What do you say to the husband who lost his wife of only 5 years? How can God take the young woman who fought cancer so valiantly?
These were heart wrenching conversations and things that happened to our family over the last several months. It makes you stop and think. Where is the hope, the joy, the blessings in these things? What could we or should we have done differently?
But yet these things encompass part of what Solomon is saying in Ecclesiastes 3:2a “A time to give birth, and a time to die;” These two events we have no control over when they will happen. Only God knows the exact timing of them. God is sovereign and in control of all things.
When I first read “A time to give birth, and a time to die” I only thought about physical birth and death, but the more I pondered it the more I realized that that is not the only kind of birth and death there is.
Yes, there is the physical birth and death that we as humans all go through at some point in our lives. We also go through the birth and death of ideas, projects, goals, dreams and so much more on a daily basis.
With each birth there is a sense of excitement, and joy. The idea of something new, a new beginning brings such a rush that we struggle to contain the enthusiasm.
But with each death we sense the loss of something close, someone we loved, something we cared about. Sometimes these losses are devastating and we feel like we just can’t catch our breath or believe it is true.
Where is the hope? Does God really care? We start to question and wonder can we go on?
I think about the farmer. He plants seed and hopes for the plant to grow. But before that plant can grow the seed must die. From the death of the seed comes a new plant that grows and produces much fruit. The hope from the death is an abundance of bounty.
Can we find that hope in the loss of a job, dream, idea? We can when we realize that God is in control and He is our hope. He is the One who will bring us the strength to go on.
Our hope is in Jesus. He is our help in our time of need. He draws us ever closer to Himself even through the struggles. He takes us through trials to grow our faith. We must die so He may live in us.
We can celebrate life and death as we go to the Lord and trust Him to know what is His good and perfect will.
As we celebrated the birth of the new child added to our family we also grieved the loss of a dream. We have also watched how this child is loved and continues to grow as he struggles. But we see a fighter and wonder what plans does God have for this child, for this family to have been blessed to raise him and love him. I know at first they wondered if it was a blessing, but I think they are finding out that it will be a wonderful blessing.
As we celebrated the life of daddy/grandpa O, we supported and encouraged each other and knew that he was in a better place. Where there is no more pain and no more sorrow. Where he is reunited with his wife. He lived a long full life and at 87 he was ready to go home.
The loss of our cousin at 3 days shy of her 41st birthday was hard, but when we attended her funeral and saw the many lives she touched we could celebrate her freedom from pain. We saw the love of Jesus as through her death an opportunity for others to hear the Gospel and follow Him was given.
Where is the hope? Our hope is in Jesus. The author of our life story.
Father, may we remember that in life and death you are still in control. May we realize that you know what is best for us. Show us your perfect love for us in your provision of hope in the joys and sorrows of our lives. Thank you for caring for us in each thing that comes our way. In Jesus’ Name Amen.