Wednesday, June 11, 2008

With Hope by Jodi Whisenhunt

The loss of a child fits into no one's plans. "This is not at all how we thought it was supposed to be," Steven Curtis Chapman's song "With Hope" begins. "We had so many plans for you, we had so many dreams," it continues. But God works differently than we do. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11) Who could imagine that such pain and sorrow that the loss of a child brings could be part of God's purpose? But, "He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee." (2 Corinthians 5:5, NKJV)

"And never have I known anything so hard to understand," begins the second verse. "And never have I questioned more the wisdom of God's plan." We do need to accept that despite the pain we endure at the loss of a child, God is indeed in control. We may not understand His wisdom. In fact, it may seem like folly, but "the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." (1 Corinthians 1:25)

He calls us to this task, and as Hebrews 13:20-21 assures us, God equips us with everything good for doing His will. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, our Heavenly Father sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He fills us with Himself! That's all the equipment we need to fulfill His purpose. We must allow His will to be done in our lives, even when it is difficult to do. We must answer the call to duty. Can God do all things? Absolutely! If He lives in us, can't we do whatever He asks us to do? Absolutely! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)

Often in our Christian walk, when we seek to serve God, we search for areas we're interested in, maybe where we feel we have natural abilities. God, however, searches for areas in which we are weak. The Lord told Paul, "My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) Sometimes God places us in moments of extreme weakness so that His strength will be revealed. "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (Exodus 9:16) "So we must learn to seek God's will and obey Him no matter how difficult and uncomfortable the assignment and no matter how high the cost -- knowing that we're called to accomplish those tasks not according to our own capacity, but according to the fully enabling power of the Holy Spirit." (WHAT'S SO SPIRITUAL ABOUT YOUR GIFT?, Henry and Mel Blacaby) Difficult situations arise, like the death of a child, so that we will rely not on our own strength and ability, but on God's.

"So do not fear, for I am with you," says the Lord in Isaiah 41:10. "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." (Job 8:21) As the song continues, "We can cry with hope, we can say goodbye with hope, 'cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no. And we can grieve with hope, 'cause we believe with hope, there's a place by God's grace, there's a place where we'll see your face again." "Therefore, do not lose heart." (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Romans 5:5 states that hope does not disappoint us. "You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy." (John 16:20) "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

The Early Angels Ministry at First Baptist Church in McKinney, Texas, provides care, support and encouragement to parents who have lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. We've established this blog to post numerous resources for bereaved parents and families. We pray that God would comfort grieving hearts and turn grief to joy.