Sunday, December 16, 2012

To Give His Only Son

To lose a child seems unbearable. I've seen the anguish on parent's faces in the NICU when the doctors tell them nothing more can be done. I've held little ones with hours left to live. I've given last baths and taken pictures and made baby handprints in times of joy and in times of sorrow.

The first day of this year was the first day I said goodbye to a baby I'd been taking care of. And I'm so very aware that my distress was only a shadow of the pain her parents felt. Her parents held her for hours, saying quiet goodbyes. When that sweet dad started crying, it was the first time I teared up at work enough to have to step away from the bedside. When her parents left, I had nested her in the bed with a cute outfit on and for a moment, she looked so normal that I had to listen with a stethescope again to make sure there was no heartbeat and no breath in her lungs. She was eerily silent.

Since I'm not a parent myself, I can't even imagine the loss of a part of yourself. This latest shooting has reminded me how fleeting life it. It's reminded me that the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

I can't pretend that there's a rhyme or reason to tragedy in light of the recent Sandy Hook losses. Sin is sin is sin. We live in a fallen world and free will doesn't always equate to good will toward fellow men. Every good gift comes from God. Often, children in their innocence and curiosity are the best gifts one will ever receive. I say this not even having any children to hold: but how do you hold them loosely? How do you remember that, sure, you 'made' them, but God orchestrated every second of their lives before they entered your life? Then how do you deal with someone taking that life in an unjust, unexpected way?

I wish I had answers because I'm sure it's true what they say: when you have a child, you will forever have a part of your heart wandering around outside your body. When they die, a part of you dies. I cannot imagine the anguish and I'm so sorry for those who know this pain inside and out.

Please know that I'm not trying to diminish such a loss or try to make light of it and expect mourning parents to find sense in a senseless tragedy. But it does bring Christmas close to home. God willingly sent his son into a lost and broken world, knowing that His child would suffer and His child would die. Knowing his mother would have to watch Jesus' final breath. God did this because it was the only way to save us.
In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity... down to the very roots and sea-bed of the nature he has created. But he goes down to come up again and bring the ruined world up with him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself under some great, complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.  -C.S. Lewis
Jesus came once, and he will come again because the God who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). How deep the Father's love for us, who gave His son that we might live. Jesus will come back one day to wipe away our tears. As my friend Melody says, he will make all of this sadness untrue. We are not without hope!

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