I had the privilege last week of journeying with a family as they were about to have a baby. It was a week full of joy and sorrow. They had known for months that the child had developmental issues that would make her life very short, hours maybe a few days at best. It was amazing to be a part of that experience, to be with the young couple as well as the grandparents and family during those precious hours. It was the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows in just 24 hours. The child was born and she was beautiful. Everyone held their breath while she was with us, as minutes turned into hours and hours into the next day. She lived about 18 hours and then passed and is at home with Jesus today.
During the twenty years I spent in youth ministry I have had the unfortunate blessing of walking with many families through the loss of a child; perhaps even some of you reading this. It is no doubt one of the hardest things that a human can ever endure. There is a special place in my heart for parents who have been through this “valley of the shadow of death”. I was deeply and powerfully reminded this week that this is a pain that God, our Father, is familiar with. We often quote the most popular verse John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life”. Often when we read that we think about God saving us and the promise of heaven with Him. Or maybe we think about the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus was willing to become for us.
Today I want to focus your attention on one word…“Gave”. God gave His one and only Son. As I sat with the parents losing this little girl, and I thought about the many other families I have walked this road with, I cannot think of any parent who would give their child. Often the thoughts are that the child was taken, we feel cheated, life cut short, great loss. But God gave, this means He chose and Jesus agreed to the decision. God’s great love for you and for me would spare no expense, the greatest of human losses is the price of our salvation. I want to encourage you to sit with this idea for a while today…meditate on the Father’s love for you. It is the only power in the world that can set us free.