1 Kings 14
This is the second example in scripture where it is clearly stated that a child dies as the result of the parent’s sin. That is hard. It’s hard to understand. Even harder to explain. And harder still to recover from.
We have a good and loving God. The death of a child is always difficult to reconcile with that truth. The question that screams through our mind is, “How could God allow this to happen?” Regardless of the circumstances of the death, we have to grapple with the notion that a sovereign God who has the power to speak creation into being, to say, “Lazarus, come forth,” and to calm a storm remained silent.
There’s only one way I’ve found to cope with such a loss. It’s trusting that in God’s sovereignty and omniscience, this was the best possible outcome from an eternal perspective for that child and for me. I’ve seen a lot of articles and books from authors more educated than I am attacking this perspective, suggesting that “‘everything happens for a reason’ is a lie.” I’ve heard famous speakers suggest that God is as blindsided and mournful as we are in tragedy. That’s just not the God I’ve experienced.
My God has given me tiny glimpses of how He works everything together for my (eternal) good and His glory (Romans 8:28-29). He’s taught me that my definition of “good” is way too small and temporal. His definition of good was best defined in Genesis 1 as He created the earth, moon, stars, and all living creatures.
In the loss of our unborn children, He comforted me with “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23) I was reassured by the knowledge that while the children who have survived have made professions of faith which I believe to be genuine, I don’t know whether these unborn children would have done so. What circumstances might have come into their lives and turned them away from God? Their eternity is secure in Christ.
God filled me with compassion for others experiencing loss and opened time in my always-hectic schedule to allow me to minister to them in ways that wouldn’t have occurred or been possible otherwise.
God taught me that I need Him desperately. Every single day. I can’t afford to dabble with things that lead my heart away from Him and I’m too busy to fail to start every day with Him, because it is the only way I can accomplish all that He has set before me.
In these specific tragedies, He taught me that my children are more precious to Him than they are to me. That He is the perfect parent, and He doesn’t expect me to be. That I can’t even protect my child when I literally hold the child inside my body, but He holds them in His hand and lets only those things He chooses slip through His fingers to touch them. That in His great love for them, anything He lets through His fingers are things needful for fashioning their eternity.
But more than any of the glimpses I’ve seen of the good God is able to bring from tragedy is the example of His Son. When I cried out to God that none of the good I could ever imagine coming from such a horrible loss could ever be worth the pain I felt, I was instantly reminded that God said just the opposite when He sent His Son to the cross for me.
God saw the brutal suffering and death of His Son to bring salvation to someone as rebellious as me and thought I was worth it!
When Jesus was told of Lazarus’ illness, He told His disciples, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” But the sickness did end in death. Jesus was glorified by raising Lazarus from death, but this only pictures the reality that none of our illness truly ends in death for those in Christ. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
Back up from the canyon of loss and see the eternal picture. “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) Our entire lives are only a lightning flash in eternity. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)