It’s about that time of the year again. That is, the end of this July and beginning of this August will mark the eleventh year since the birth and death of my son Kenny.
Although there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of my son at some point, I really don’t dwell on the horror of his death much. I haven’t “gotten over it” and Kenny’s death is still as sad as it ever was but after eleven years I have learned to live with it (I had no other choice if I was to keep on living). But this past week I was sharing the story of Kenny’s death and the struggle with faith I had in the aftermath with another person, so I’ve been thinking about the idea of death and dying again. I also made a visit to a children’s hospital a couple days ago and while there were many signs of healing and hope, it’s a humbling experience as it reminds me of how fragile life really is.
But dying and death… It is really a most humble moment! Naked to this earth we came and naked we return. It can’t get more humble than that. All of our accomplishments, education, supposed sophistication, and so on, yet at some point our body will fail. Whether it is due to injury or illness, our body will not recover and we will die.
There’s a line in the hymn Abide With Me towards the end of the first stanza that says, “Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.” What a prayer! Because in death we are helpless ourselves but we cling with hope to the promise that in Christ, death is not the final word. So the a line from the third stanza sings, “Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.”
Triumph… That’s the last word and it’s a word of victory in Jesus Christ!
So while the death of my son still grieves me, deeply sometimes, it will not have the victory. Neither will my own death, whenever that day comes, nor all the other deaths that sadden me. For I know and believe that final word of eternal promise that God has spoken in Jesus Christ.
“My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.” – Psalm 119:81