How can God bring joy from a parent’s worst nightmare, the death of a child? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought, until I found the truth and depth of God’s promises.
“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NIV) As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, grief lasts longer than a single night. The truth in this verse is, even though we grieve, God will enable us to find joy.
I was riding in the car one day and heard a strange sound. It was my own voice, singing along with the radio for the first me since my son died, a year prior. I was shocked into silence. How could I make a joyful noise when my son was no longer in this world? What kind of a mother was I?
In Abide in Christ, author Andrew Murray discusses how to stay in Christ during seasons of suffering. His admonition is to “spend much time alone with God.” During that first year after Bobby’s death, I spent “much time” crying to God, pouring out my heartache. I asked the usual questions:
Why did he have to die at such a young age?
Why do bad people live, and good people die?
Why did Bobby have to get cancer two times in his young life?
Could I have done something to prevent the recurrence of this life-stealing disease?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find answers to those questions to make sense of our loss? The answers are found in Scripture, but they may not be the answers we want to hear. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation (and trials and distress and frustration). But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.)” (John 16:33 Amplified Bible)
This is the true message of the resurrection. Jesus can bring joy through even the greatest loss, the loss of a child. God himself experienced the loss of His own child. The cross, for a time, separated Father and Son.
Though I still live with grief, I can now sing. He gives me joy in the midst of pain. “I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches over me” (“His Eye Is on the Sparrow” by Civilia D. Martin).