Coping with the death of your child

The death of a child is very painful.

Of course, we also feel pain when we must bury a grandmother. Koko was someone we loved. And now we must say farewell. xe2x80″ But her life has been completed. We can look back, remember her and say: It was a good life.

Children must live. A child must grow. Go to school. Enjoy life. Not die.

Children must bury their parents, not the other way round. To bury your child is terrible. As many of you have experienced yourselves. 

How do you cope with the death of your child? As a parent. As a Christian. Does the Bible have any comfort in this situation? I think it does.

Let us listen to the message of 2 Samuel 12. A message of faith, of love and of hope.

A child becomes sick. Pain. Suffering. Crying. This is terrible. Why should an innocent child suffer like this?

The Bible teaches us that illness, suffering and pain are the consequences of sin. No-one of us is innocent. We are all sinners.

In 2 Samuel 12 you can see that in a very special way. Verse 15 does not mention the name of the child. But it refers to his history:

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriahxe2x80x99s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.

Bathsheba is Uriahxe2x80x99s wife, not Davidxe2x80x99s. These words refer to a sad story of adultery and even murder. You can read it in chapter 11. David has sinned against Godxe2x80x99s law.

And yes, he has confessed his sin. He even has been forgiven. Read verses 13 and 14:

13  Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
14  But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."

Why is this child suffering? Itxe2x80x99s because of sin. Not as a punishment of sin xe2x80″ God has forgiven xe2x80″ but as its consequence. Davidxe2x80x99s life has been ruined. Read chapter 13, 14, 15 etc.

Why do our children suffer? Because of sin. Not in this special way, like: your child is sick, you must have done something wrong. God is not like that.

But in general it is true. Our children are born in sin (Psalm 51 verse 5). The consequence of sin is death (Romans 6 verse 23). We know sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5 verse 12).

To cope with the death of your child, you need faith. You must open the Bible, to understand why all these things happen. To understand sin and sickness, death and life. To find comfort in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Without faith things donxe2x80x99t make sense. You can just be angry. Angry with life. Angry with God. Why doesnxe2x80x99t he help us?!

But he does. Through faith you can have hope, even in illness and in death. Like David, you can trust Godxe2x80x99s love in Christ.

Your child is ill. What do you do? xe2x80″ Yes, you go to hospital. Use doctors and operations and medicine. But most of all: go to God in prayer.

Verses 16 and 17:

16  David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground.
17  The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

Even though the prophet had said: your child will die (verse 14). His father David is fasting and praying. Pleading with God.

God is the almighty God. He can do anything.

God is merciful. He loves me and my child.

Yes, as parents you love your child. You want to protect that little one. But you canxe2x80x99t. Who is able to stop illness? Who is able to give his or her child life? No one. Only God.

Thatxe2x80x99s why the Lord Jesus says to parents, even in 2010: Let the little children come to me (Mark 10 verse 14). Bring your kids to Christ. Pray for them. Lay them in his hands. And he will bless them in his love (Mark 10 verse 16).

That is what David did. He fasted and prayed. He pleaded with God. And the Lord answered him in his love.

Or did he?

Some people say: God did not listen to David. He prayed for his child. But nevertheless God took the child away from him. Even Davidxe2x80x99s servants are afraid to tell him, verse 18:

Davidxe2x80x99s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate."

They are surprised by the way the king reacts to the death of his child.

David understands the love of God. The Lord answered his prayers by taking the child away. He is not sick anymore. He is in a better place. He is safe in Godxe2x80x99s loving hands.

I know this is difficult to understand.

Your child is ill. What do you do? You pray for him. xe2x80x9cGod almighty, you can heal my kid! Loving Father, this child has been baptised. It is your child. Donxe2x80x99t take my kid away!xe2x80x9d But he dies. You have to bury him. That is the answer of God to your prayers.

I canxe2x80x99t explain Gods answer. xe2x80x9cMy thoughts are not your thoughts,xe2x80x9d says the Lord, xe2x80x9cmy ways are higher than your ways.xe2x80x9d (Isaiah 55 verses 8 and 9). But I am sure of Godxe2x80x99s love. Romans 8: xe2x80x9cI am convinced that neither death nor life … nor anything else … will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.xe2x80x9d (verses 38 and 39).

How do you cope with the death of your child? Through faith you can trust in the love of God. Like David, you even have hope for the future.

Like I said before, parents should not have to bury their child. It is upside down. We just feel pain. How can you go on living?

The Christian faith brings hope. As we can see in the way David is handling his grief.

His servants are afraid to tell him. He might do something desperate xe2x80″ he may commit suicide. But what happens? David washes, changes his clothes and starts eating again. He is in peace.

Why? Because he has hope, verse 23:

Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.

What does he mean? xe2x80x9cI will also die and be buried next to him.xe2x80x9d Is that it? I think itxe2x80x99s more than that: xe2x80x9cMy child is with God in heaven. I will go to him. We will meet again to be with God together!xe2x80x9d

Maybe you also had to bury your child. And you are still grieving. Why couldnxe2x80x99t he or she grow up, go to school, get married, bring me grandchildren … I donxe2x80x99t know.

Do you also have this Christian hope?

Your  child is in heaven with God. Without pain or suffering. Listen, do you hear him or her? Calling from the other side: when will I see you again?

xe2x80x9cI will go to him, but he will not return to me.xe2x80x9d You can cope with this message of hope. Like David and Bathsheba did.

Is there life after death? Can you continue to live after burying your child? Yes, you can.

Read verses 24 and 25:

24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him; 25 and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.

Did you see the difference between verse 24 and verse 15? Bathsheba is now no longer called Uriahxe2x80x99s wife but Davidxe2x80x99s wife. Their sin has been forgiven. They can move on.

The Lord blesses their marriage with a second son. He is called Solomon, the prince of peace (1 Chronicles 22 verses 9 and 10). The parents have found peace in the Lord.

This child is given a new name. Jedidiah, the Lord loves him. Godxe2x80x99s beloved son. There is hope through faith in Godxe2x80x99s love.

I canxe2x80x99t help but thinking about Jesus Christ.

He really is Jedidiah, Godxe2x80x99s dear one.

Remember Godxe2x80x99s voice coming from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1 verse 11).

He really is Solomon, the prince of peace.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given … and his name shall be called … the prince of peace.xe2x80x9d (Isaiah 9 verse 5). As Paul says: xe2x80x9cwe have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.xe2x80x9d (Romans 5 verse 1).

Godxe2x80x99s child died, that we and our children may live. Forever and ever. Amen.


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