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Death of a Child

Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: "O my son Absalom--my son, my son Absalom--if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"

Death of a Child

The late Joe Bayly wrote about the death of the young from firsthand experience. He lost three children: one at 18 days, after surgery; another at 5 years, with leukemia; the third at 18 years, after a sledding accident complicated by mild hemophilia. Joe said, "Of all deaths, that of a child is most unnatural and hardest to bear." He did not underestimate the grief of parents. "When a child dies," he added, "part of the parents is buried."

David knew that experience. He had watched his young son Absalom grow up, the boy with the long, flowing hair. Perhaps he had been his favorite. Absalom had certainly shown great promise as a future leader, if not king, of Israel. Then came the tragic incident with Absalom's sister Tamar and his half-brother Amnon (2 Sam. 13:1-14). The young man turned bitter and eventually murdered Amnon (14:23-29). Later he plotted a rebellion against his father, which almost succeeded (2 Sam. 15:1-18:18). Yet despite all that, David mourned his boy's death as though he had been the perfect son. The death of a child is a catastrophic blow even if he has the heart of a rebel.

God understands the pain every parent feels when he or she loses a child. He Himself had to stand apart and watch His beloved Son die on the cross. He walked the same valley of deep sorrow as every grieving parent. And God understands as well when the one you sorrow for has been a wayward son or daughter. Ezekiel 33:11 says, "'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.'" God grieves even when the wicked die.

If you are grieving for a child today, take comfort in God's understanding. He will sustain you through each surge of sorrow. His loving arms will uphold you all along the way.

God is also a grieving parent.

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