Easter is coming. Resurrection. Hallelujah! But first, there is death.
And before that Jesus hosted his final dinner meeting with His closest friends (John 13-17). He told them many things about his impending suffering. Their reaction: Naw! That can’t happen! They weren’t really listening to Him.
This dinner meeting went on for a few hours. He washed their feet. He talked and taught. He prayed for them – and for us! That night, the night the downward spiral began that led to the humiliating and agonizing cross, he prayed for all His followers in future history. That’s us! He prayed for us! He was going to die at the hands of the Roman-Hebrew conspiracy, but He was thinking about us!
Jesus was not focused on self or self preservation. He wasn’t focused on pain avoidance or pain relief. He wasn’t focused on anything but mercy to you and me, knowing He had to go all the way to the cross as his Father asked. His teaching that evening was all for the benefit of His followers. He taught that He’d be leaving very soon and the method of His departure would be very troublesome; that He would prepare a place for us; that He’d send His agent to be with us always (the Holy Spirit); and that He wanted us to remember all this after He’d gone. The disciples couldn’t understand, really. It was beyond their ability to comprehend until the events actually came to pass. But He prepared them anyway.
He said in that prayer: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24) These events and their impact for us have been in the plan for a long time!
How does all this intersect with your grief? From before the creation of the world, Jesus was planning to give us reason for hope. From the instant the death sentence was pronounced on Adam for his disobedience, the Father was planning to redeem everything that had been broken. The cost for that renewal was very high – the life of His Son, who is God Himself contained in the flesh. But because Jesus wanted you to be with Him and to see His glory, the Father and Son were willing to pay.
He has always focused on our benefits. Somehow, the death of your child fits into this picture – God wants to shower us with His benefits. He created Life. Now He is recreating life, even for you after the death of your child. Certainly there is life without sorrow in eternity, when you can be where Jesus is. But I believe He is offering you a life that starts here and now that can be described by words like “hope” and “resurrection” and “seeing His glory.”
You may be reacting like the disciples: Naw, that can never be! Like the disciples, it’s hard to comprehend how His benefits apply in your life after your loss. But He has been preparing for you because He wants you to be with Him (and His Spirit with you) and for you to see His glory. Keep your eyes open. He is working for your benefit right now.