Today is a day of revisiting difficult emotional territory. It was on this day in 2018 when we met our baby who had already gone to the next world before having the chance to see this one. (I processed those thoughts in a post called On Tragedy, Loss, and Learning) Now, just like it was then, I feel the tension between remembering the loss and the comfort of knowing our baby is in a better place; albeit without us. It feels like someone has thrown my emotions in a blender and I’m not sure which colour will be dominant when the whirring stops.
What I Feel and What I Know
I went to the memorial service. I lit a candle. I watched through tears as the hospital Chaplain spread the ashes on a garden of roses. And I whispered
As each of our children
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.
God wasn’t in a hurry to choose words when he gave this blessing for Aaron to pray. A deep-dive word study, or even just a thoughtful reflection, reveals how much of a wonderful blessing it is to be granted each of these things by God. I want these things in the lives of my children, my wife, and my own life in ever-increasing measure. In fact, in times like these, I couldn’t live without them.
A year on from the day that we hope to never repeat, I know that the Prince of Peace holds our little one dear in his care. But there’s more. He provides that same peace to each of us. So while we feel sadness and the sense of loss that comes from not being able to watch our baby grow and flourish, these feelings are undergirded by the firm foundation of that which we know: God is totally sovereign, he is only always good, and when we trust in him, our hearts find peace.
Living as a follower of Jesus isn’t free from tragedy or suffering: Jesus never promised that it would be. What he did promise was that he would never leave us (Hebrews 13:5–6), that in this world we would have trials (John 16:33), that he would give us his peace (John 14:27), and that ultimately he would lead us to live with God forever (1 Peter 3:18) in a place with no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev 21:4).
Today is a day of difficult emotional territory. If you ask me how I’m feeling, I may just blink at you with
Come, Lord Jesus.