We are living day by day, moment by moment. After the shock of Isaac’s death and the rush of the funeral, the reality of our new life has set in. It is quiet at home without our youthful chatterbox. We struggle with feelings of guilt and doubt as we reflect on our shortcomings as parents. Did God take him because we weren’t good enough as parents? Why is it so hard to receive God’s grace for ourselves? We also struggle with how God deals with the eternal destiny of a ten-year-old boy. We’ve been reading through the book of Job and also Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman (thanks Heather), both of which have brought peace. We also read and found encouragement from Gone but Not Lost: Grieving the Death of a Child by David W. Wiersbe (thanks Terry & Jessica). It has also been encouraging for me (Dad) to review my prayer journals. I have been especially encouraged by the following entries:
December 27, 2004
Tonight may have been the beginning of Isaac’s breakthrough. Isaac stated that he believes that Jesus died for his sins. Isaac said “yes” when I asked if he wanted Jesus to be his Helper. I prayed over Isaac for Jesus to come into his life and help him to do and say the right things. He seemed to understand, however I pray that God will provide some form of reassurance (mainly for Brenda and me) over the next few days. I thank the Lord for this privilege of seeing Him call on Isaac’s heart.
A couple of entries after this one I noted how Isaac appeared to be happier and obedient over a period of time. I trusted that this was an answer to our prayer for reassurance.
August 31, 2005
Last night we told Isaac about Brenda’s mom and how we believe she is with Jesus now. He took it all in and became quite upset about going up in the clouds and missing things down here.
October 8, 2008
I am seeing Isaac’s mercy gifting really blossom. He befriended a little boy…at Caledonia [State Park] and still occasionally talks about “that little guy.” He was a strong spiritual supporter of me (and others) during [my cousin’s] funeral. Yesterday, he rejoiced that [a friend] gave her heart to Jesus.
December 5, 2008
The following entry was made after gently confronting our then almost six-year-old daughter about sinful attitudes in the light of God’s Word.
As I put [Isabella] to bed, she was visibly upset. After I prayed for her, I went downstairs for a few minutes. Since she continued to cry, I returned to her room. She was upset that I didn’t give her a chance to pray to God. I led her through a prayer of confession and petition to Jesus for help. I asked her if she believed in Jesus and she said “yes!” I hugged and reassured her, after which I went downstairs.
I shared this joyful news with Brenda and yet felt a prompting to follow-up quickly. Brenda was concerned that Belle would be concerned about her salvation when she sinned again, since I told her that she was free from sin. As I went into her room, Belle asked if she “gave her heart to Jesus like [her friend] did.” She was concerned that God wasn’t ready for her because she was so young. I reassured her that He wanted all to be saved, from the youngest to the oldest. I read to her from 1John 1:8 to 2:1. I wanted to reassure her that, though God wants us not to sin, when we do sin Jesus is beside the Father advocating for us and God will forgive us. She seemed to genuinely believe in Jesus and understand that he died on the cross for her sins. She felt comforted and reassured. I prayed a prayer of blessing and protection over her.
As I left Belle’s room, Isaac called me over into his room. He was concerned that God was disappointed with him. I led him through the same verses in 1John. He also seemed reassured and I prayed for blessing and protection for him also.
Wow! Lord, what a move of Your Spirit. Thank you for answering our prayers regarding our children. May Brenda and I be instruments in Your hand to cultivate their relationships with You. Please grant us wisdom and strength to walk in the light.
March 1, 2010
The following entry was made after our first Sunday attending our current church. We had been praying that God would provide us with a local church fellowship. The song Amazing Grace is one of our favorites to sing as a family.
As the service closed with a hymn, I believe that God provided us with encouragement and a blessing. Isabella had earlier stated that it would be great if we sang Amazing Grace. What were the chances that would be selected? Yet, as Pastor Ray began to announce the closing hymn, I expected it would be. Brenda and I both had tears in our eyes as we sang Amazing Grace along with Isaac and Isabella singing with all their hearts. We concluded it was a sign to return another week.
February 15, 2011
Little did I expect how the following entry would be answered:
Last night we prayed that Isaac would be a man after God’s own heart. I asked the Lord to reveal His plan for Isaac to us.
We also continue to receive encouragement from the cards, letters, emails and phone calls. We recently received a letter from one of our elderly church members. She wrote about the last time she spoke to Isaac. She told Isaac that she loved him and he told her that he loved her too. We remember how Isaac was embarrassed by the attention but it touched our heart that he responded to her that way.
I (Andy) also remember the peace that I felt in my heart when I returned to the scene of the fatal accident to collect several of Isaac’s explorer items that he had scattered on the ground. Our pastor’s wife also shared with us the peace that she felt in her heart as they were driving to the trauma center, and before knowing that Isaac had passed away, that Isaac was safe in heaven.
This is the hardest thing that we have ever had to endure. We have had some difficult moments in our lives, most of which were self-inflicted. We miss Isaac’s laughter, smile and enthusiasm (although he was less than enthusiastic about school and chores). He was so good about playing with the little children. We fondly remember one recent day where the four children were running back-and-forth in the yard in a pretend race. We miss our buddy but continue to believe that he is on the greatest adventure of his life time with our Lord and Savior.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (Joh 14:18)
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psa 34:18)