How can Christian parents find comfort after the death of a child?
There is perhaps nothing more difficult for a parent to face than the death of a child. The natural order of life anticipates that a child will outlive his or her parents. When this order is reversed, the grief can be devastating, especially when the child who dies is young. Though there are no words that can "fix" or solve the loss of one's child, Scripture does offer words of comfort and encouragement for Christian parents who endure the death of a child.
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David offers a positive example of a parent responding to the death of his young child. Second Samuel 12:20 notes, "Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate." Though David had prayed earnestly for his son's healing, he worshiped the Lord even after his son's death. Instead of leaving his faith or abandoning God, David drew close to God in his time of grief.
Second Samuel 12:23 records David's answer to those who asked him about his response: "But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me." David knew that he could do nothing to change the death of his child. However, he also knew that his son was now in God's presence, a place where David would one day rejoin his son for eternity.
The Bible is clear that our grief will not last forever. Though the sadness of a lost child may extend through this life, there will be a day when this sorrow will end. Revelation 21:4 promises, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Realize you are never alone. God is always present and His people are called to serve alongside you in your time of grief. Many times God will bring another person into your life who has faced a similar situation to share in your grief and help to bring comfort (2 Corinthians 1:6-7). The body of Christ is designed to join together and to serve one another through all times and situations.
God will often work through your pain to encourage and help others. Though it may not seem possible at the time, God does not allow pain without purpose. Your story and grief may one day be a source of help to others who face a similar loss.
Again, there is no perfect answer to the pain a parent faces at the death of a child. However, God can bring comfort, offers hope for eternity, and offers a family of believers who can be there to help as you endure the grief of losing a child.
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