Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Problem of Perspective

 One of my greatest aspirations in life has always been to become a dad. Long before I was married, I had imagined many things I wanted to do with my children. It was not until my wife and I found out in December that we were going to have a boy that those dreams became more vivid. I could picture witnessing Joses’ first steps, reading him Bible stories at bedtime, and teaching him to drive a car. I had great joy in imagining what kind of man he would become. However, all of those dreams were crushed in January when we found out that Joses has a condition called Anencephaly. If my son is born alive, his condition has a 100% mortality rate shortly after birth. The doctors say the most we can hope for is holding our sweet son for a few moments before he dies in our arms.

It is so easy to see this just from a grieving father's perspective with all of my lost hopes and dreams of playing ball or going to a big league game with my firstborn son. Selfishly, I want to say "God! My son could have become a Christian and raised a godly family and perhaps have converted many people to you! Look at all of the good he could have accomplished!" This is David's point in Psalm 6:4-5 "Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?" If my son is dead, how can he praise God to those who are living? These are the thoughts that often go through my head. It is similar to Paul’s dilemma in Philippians 1:21-24 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” While Paul is saying this after he had lived and served God for years, my son might be allowed just minutes of life.

My heart aches for the son I thought I was going to have. It is such a temptation to see things only through the eyes of a grieving father. My challenge is seeing this situation from God's point of view. Here are some points that I need to keep in perspective:

First, none of us live very long in this world. Life itself has a 100% mortality rate. “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments” (Psalm 103:15-18). With eternity in mind, the moments that my son might live really are not that much shorter than a man who lives for a century. Instead of making Joses go through a life where he experiences temptation, sin, and heartache, God is sparing my son and guarantees him a place in Heaven.

Second, God is not bound by time. Though my son will not live very long from my perspective, God doesn't see it that way. As the apostle Peter says "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). God is giving my son the lifetime that he should have. In that lifetime, my son will receive a lifetime of love from his family and especially his God.

Third, God has planned from the beginning that my son would
have an impact on this world. Even though there was a potential for good to come through his life, there may yet be a greater good to come through his death. If this inspires my wife and I, our families, our future kids, and the thousands of other people we reach to "set [our] minds on things above and not on things of this earth" (Colossians 3:2), then my son's death would not be in vain. My son Joses could have a greater impact on me going to heaven than any other person I know. As David said of the son he met for just a short while, "I shall go to him, but he will not return to me" (2 Samuel 12.23b).

When I see things from God’s perspective, my son is the lucky one. He will have the prize for which every Christian longs. He will be a servant in Heaven for all eternity. While I may wish that I could hear my son call me “daddy,” God says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Instead of blaming God for taking my son from me, I need to remember the advice of Solomon: “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

by Seth McDonald

1 comment:

  1. Good people pass away;
    the godly often die before their time.
    But no one seems to care or wonder why.
    No one seems to understand
    that God is protecting them from the evil to come. Is 57:1 He is the lucky one!