I have six children; three that I am blessed to be able to hold today, two that were lost in the womb, and one I look forward to holding in November. I have experienced some of the joys and sorrows of being a parent, and I’m sure I will experience many more as the years pass.
This morning, it was through watery eyes that I read of a family who lost their infant child last night because of health complications with his heart. The sorrow and pain they are enduring cannot be described nor explained with mere words, but at the same time there is also hope in the opportunity in eternity to see that child again.
As I was contemplating these things this morning, another thought entered the mix: we are made in the image of God. Mankind was created with a soul, with cognitive abilities and emotional spectrums similar to our Creator. He has given us reason and logic, love, anger, compassion, desire, and many other processes that are similar in nature to his own. That being the case, I believe we often overlook the means by which we can see how God feels when he loses a child.
When we lose a child, someone we created, someone we loved and cherished, for whom we sought to provide and care, who we would give anything to protect, even if it meant our own lives, what does it do to us? It causes grief and agony, sorrow and tears. The same holds true for God. We often consider God to be all love or all anger, all fire and brimstone or all cuddles and warm fuzzy feelings.
The truth is that God is full of love for mankind. He is our Creator, he has sought to protect us, care for us, lead and direct us, save us from our own foolishness, and provide for our eternal wellbeing: even to the point of sacrificing his own life for our sins. However, it has often been the case that God has lost his children, not because of failure on his part, but because of failure on ours. When that happens, we see the anguish of God as he struggles to bring his people back, to convince them of the error of their ways, and to show them the truth. Often they will not listen. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Mat. 23:37).
When we lose a child, we have hope to see that child again, but imagine the pain it causes God when he loses a child and will never be able to be reunited with that soul. That is why God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). He does not want anyone to be lost, but many will choose to be, and his righteousness and justice will not allow him to bend the rules for those who have refused him (Rom. 2:11; 11:22).
Alternately, we can also understand the anger of God with those unrighteous individuals who try to pull others away from him to destruction. Jesus stated, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mat. 18:6 ESV). Imagine for a moment that you see an individual who is trying to lure one of your children away from your side so that he can kill that child, forever removing him from your love and influence; what would you do? How would you react to such wicked and cruel intentions? This is exactly what the individual who seeks to cause another to sin is doing, and it brings God’s anger fully to bear on the individual responsible. There will be no mercy for such an individual without full repentance.
When we lose a child, the sorrow and pain can seem overwhelming, but it can be overcome by the love of God and the understanding of his word. Nevertheless, these tragedies also give us a glimpse into the feelings and emotions of God toward his creation, his children, and how our lives and actions affect him. Let us encourage others, both outside of Christ and separated from Christ, to understand God’s love and care for them; and let us never forget what happens to God when he loses a child.