DayBreaks for 7/07/14 – For a Son
We nearly lost a son over the weekend. The call came early Saturday morning here on the west coast from one of our daughter in law’s as my wife and I were preparing to head out for the day to do something fun. It is amazing how we can transition in just one small sentence from expectations of a fun day into the deepest pit of fear that a parent’s heart can imagine.
Her voice on the end of the phone told us that our youngest son, Tim, was that very moment in transit via ambulance to a hospital complaining of chest pains. “He’s only 38!” I thought to myself, but knowing the horrific family history, I feared the ultimate diagnosis – and the potential outcome.
To shorten the story, it did, indeed, prove to be a heart attack. One of the arteries on the right side of the heart was found to be 100% blocked, but we didn’t know that at the time of the call. All I could think was, “Please, God! No! Don’t take this child from us! His wife and two little girls need him! And I want him to live!” If I could have ever made a bargain with God, I would have made it then.
As the anxious moments between calls crawled by (he’s in Atlanta and we are in California), I couldn’t help but think that such things are not supposed to happen to 38-year olds who appear, for all outward purposes, to be the epitome of not just good, but great and vibrant health. It is not in the natural order of things for parents to lose a child. The child, once old enough to grasp the machinations of this world, expects to lose the parent – not the other way around. Yet there are many places in this world where it is common place for a child to precede the parent in death. We are the fortunate here in America. Sure, it still happens and has happened to some of the DayBreaks readers, but when it is your son, your daughter – it becomes intensely personal….and the very real possibilities are truly frightening. I couldn’t help but think that if this had happened in the jungles of southeast Asia or the bush in Africa, the nature of the call would have been much different as would the outcome.
Truly, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, our son has not only survived, but is doing well. We could chalk it up to modern medicine and stents and angiograms and medications…but I think we all know better.
God chose to be gracious to us all and spared our son. As I sat in worship on Sunday taking communion, my heart was moved to think that God in His incomparable mercy had spared our son…but He didn’t spare His own. Who could God cry out to during His anxious, painful hours, asking for someone, somewhere to save His own beloved Son? There was no one for Him. And so the Father witnessed and endured what I fear most – the untimely loss of a child or grandchild.
I don’t know how God did what He did as His own son struggled, like ours, to breathe. I don’t know why He chose to spare this son of ours…but not His own. But that’s not really true, is it? I know why. You know why. It only takes one word to explain it all: love. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish. I would gladly die for any one of my children or grandchildren – to make that transactional trade in, literally, a heartbeat. But God either couldn’t, or wouldn’t, join into that bargain for Himself, to save His only begotten Son. Instead, He chose to let that Son die to bring other sons and daughters to glory. So, to do that one thing, He had to watch and weep and THE Son died.
Will our son live to watch his beautiful little girls walk down the aisle some day? I don’t know. He may not live to see tomorrow – though the odds look good. He may live to see his grandchildren walk that aisle and even to hold their babies in his arms. I don’t know. But this I know: God was gracious to us this weekend….and for that, I am, and will be, eternally grateful.
PRAYER: Thank you, Almighty God, for Your grace in saving my son! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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