21 September 2009

Your joy to know

You know there’s been too much sadness in the family lately when the 5-year-old, praying for pregnant friends and relatives, feels compelled to add, “And please don’t let their baby die.”

This prayer, however matter-of-factly uttered, is heartwrenching. The lad is tough, but with a tender heart, and he has shed tears for babies loved and lost. Did we err in sharing grief with him?

No. We have shared not only our grief, but the reason for the hope that we have—the reason that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. This kid gets it. He knows the race isn’t over yet. He knows we’re waiting on That Glorious Day. We’re listening for the trumpet blast that heralds the One who brings an end to all strife and the beginning of life made new.

More: He’s five, and he knows that even a teeny, in-utero sibling or cousin or friend that he’s never seen is a person, created and loved by God, whose existence is cause for rejoicing and whose temporal loss is cause for sorrow.

When it comes to topics like death, the truism is true: each mother and father can best discern the information that’s appropriate for their children. (For instance: We’re not totally sure where the three-year-old is with all this. We haven’t talked quite as much with him about it, but neither have we hidden anything from him. Also: we don’t dwell extensively on the topic with our older son, but deal with it as it comes up.)

Sometimes, the suddenness of grief forces a parent’s hand. Misguided protective instincts might tempt us to wrap our children in cozy euphemisms, or else cut them out of the loop altogether. Let’s not be misled by a world that grieves without hope into thinking that we should “love” our children by insulating them from sadness. Let’s not make our children’s happiness into an idol that usurps the place intended for a more profound joy. True Love, after all, is stronger than death.

Let us suffer here with Jesus, and with patience bear our cross.
Joy will follow all our sadness; where He is, there is no loss.
Though today we sow no laughter, we shall reap celestial joy;
All discomforts that annoy shall give way to mirth here-after.
Jesus, here I share Your woe; help me there Your joy to know.


HappyFox said...

What a great post! Especially "Let's not make our children's happiness into an idol that usurps the place intended for a more profound joy". That seems to be the aim of many Americans.

MooreMama said...


During my pregnancy with C, my friend's 4 yo included C in her prayers every night. "...And God, please help Baby Wessica to grow big and strong and happy so that she can be born in September and I can play with her."
And when C was born big and strong and healthy, Haylie was all aflutter: "I prayed for Baby Wessica to grow big and strong and happy and SHE IS!"
Her brother is currently fighting a nasty cancer and Haylie's prayers are confident and beautiful.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

We pray every night for our pregnant friends and relatives by name and their babies; for their health and strength. Lastly for our baby in utero. The 4 year old gets it. We had a 4 day old baby (born at 22 weeks) die in Christ a few months ago and she went to the wake and funeral and got to touch his little hands in the smallest casket made. She knows he will be raised up. This is what we need to tell them, Christ lives so will his little ones.

This makes me think of how Christians should speak and deal with death in general with their children. I know parents who have never taken their children to a funeral home, or a funeral and then when grandpa dies - turmoil. We need not be afraid of death, and we need not hide our children from it because it has no victory for us in Christ. We simply can tell the little ones, Jesus died and was put in his tomb and so and so died and will get out of their tomb too, just like Jesus, in Jesus. So on a day of a funeral I say, "I'm going to go put so and so in their tomb." And the response from the 4 year old is is "but they are not going to stay in there!" Right - no fear.

Marie said...

Thank you! They can better understand their need for a Savior when they see the reality of sin. Every once in awhile when I'm relating our plans, our 3 year old corrects me, "Unless Jesus comes back first, Mommy!" That seems to be a much more worthwhile concept to instill in their little hearts than hiding them from all sorrow.

Rebekah said...

As if it isn't bad enough to lose someone, imagine losing someone without knowing he/she could be lost. You can't protect your kid from things you can't stop. Thanks, RM.

The Mama said...

Well said.

Reb. Mary said...

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them..."

Thanks, all, for sharing these comments and stories, which fuel my fire to ensure that our children are presented the Word in its truth and purity, without the hindrance of candy coating.