The Peace of God

Few things in life are as tragic and emotionally devastating as the death of a child. The incredible sense of loss and sadness are sometimes overwhelming and the crippling pain often seems too much to bear. When my nine-year-old son suddenly suffered a stroke and died in March 2007, I could hardly believe what was happening. He was, after all, a vibrant and healthy child who was singing in the shower just hours before his stroke. Besides all of that, it seemed like such a contradiction to the "natural" order of things --- parents really shouldn't outlive their children.

Before Terrence's death, I can recall hearing heartbreaking stories of children passing away. The newscasts and internet seemed to be full of accounts of children as innocent victims of gunfire, kids being struck by cars, and babies dying of illness and disease. I remember so well how my heart ached for their parents and I would immediately lift them before the Lord in prayer. I simply could not imagine how they must have felt and I was always compelled to intercede on their behalf.

Then, early one Thursday in the predawn hours of that rainy March morning, I became one of those parents I had so fervently covered in prayer many times before. My own son, my first-born child, had a stroke and would remain on life support for five days before being called home by the Lord. I had to quickly come to terms with the unbelievable fact that I, like the mothers and fathers before me, would have to bury a child. How was I supposed to do that?

Mere words are inadequate to describe the tremendous heartache and grief that threatened to consume me in those darkest days. The limitations of my human mind would not allow me to make sense of this unspeakable tragedy and, for the first time in my life, I asked God "why?" The answer to that question has not yet come. Instead, He has given me "the peace of God that surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) and the assurance that He is still God, is still good, and is always in control.

In the nine years since Terrence went to Heaven, I have had my share of ups and downs. I have celebrated great victories and suffered agonizing defeats. I have enjoyed the pleasure of refreshing laughter and the discouragement of tear-filled nights. And through it all, one thing has remained sure and constant: God's unfailing love and the blessing of His promise to never leave me or forsake me. Simply keep your mind stayed on Him and He will keep you in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

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