Before His death, Jesus experienced the triumphal entry. From Triumph, where the crowds were FOR Him, to trial and execution, where all the people, powerful and ordinary alike, were AGAINST Him. Such a big change in less than one week. Jesus had a good idea that his immediate future wasn’t going to be easy. But He faced all this quietly, waiting for God to unveil his purpose and process for all to see. Do you feel there are any parallels between His experience and yours? You probably didn’t lose your child by execution. Do you feel like you expected the course to go one way, but suddenly things changed? Were you confident that healing would be the outcome, but what God has given is death? Do you feel maybe doctors were more optimistic than truthful with you? Or were some of your friends and spiritual counselors speaking of healing and good days ahead, but the days ended? Did your child rally the last week, so you thought he was over the worst of it, ready to get out of the hospital and back to school? Just like the people of Jerusalem, we can see signs and misunderstand what they mean. In the last days of your child’s life, did things change direction much too fast?
For some of you there may be parallels even more striking. There may have been violence at the hand of another, or even self inflicted wounds. You were probably totally surprised by those events. A different kind of sudden change of direction.
The people celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem were celebrating a triumph, but it is one that God didn’t promise or bring to pass. He didn’t have political conquest in mind, but the more permanent spiritual conquest of death. The people misunderstood God’s plan and purpose in these events. They were misled, and misunderstood what was about to happen. We can misunderstand too. We can misunderstand the medical situation and we can misunderstand the spiritual situation.
If your experience during your child’s illness or the circumstances of their death included this kind of disappointment and confusion, what is there to learn from this part of the Easter story?
- Jesus waited quietly until events unfolded according to God’s plan. He trusted God his Father with the details.
- He trusted the Father’s heart, even when it seemed details were going terribly wrong. Where was Justice in His trial?
- Jesus willingly went forward into the darkness of death, trusting there was light and life on the other side. In fact, he had said I’ll destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. I don’t’ think the disciples had a good understanding of what that meant until after the 3 days in the grave! So, with us, we may not understand the meaning that will come out of events, for a long time. But we know and can trust the God who does create that meaning.
- After His death, his friends and family gathered together and supported one another and waited. Then they began to see some little signs, then bigger ones about what it all meant. It meant the gates of heaven are open wide for all who will believe.
I am going to encourage you to gather with people who love you and loved the child, and wait. Look for signs of what God will do to comfort you and to give greater meaning to the child’s life and death. It won’t mean the redemption of the whole human race, of course, but their death will not be wasted. Your child has meaning, as does your grief. So wait and look for the signs.
A bereaved father said: we prayed for a miracle, and we received one. Not the one we hoped for (his life on earth) but a real miracle still (his life everlasting)!