As I was fixing lunch one day, my oldest son started telling me about Jesus calming the storm (Luke 8:22-25). He talked about the disciples being on a boat with Jesus and a big storm came. The disciples got scared and called out for Jesus, who was asleep. Oliver went on to tell me that Jesus calmed the storm and that when we are afraid, we should not fear because He is always with us. This is one of the many reasons why I love the preschool that my boys go to. They have weekly Bible time and the Scripture and stories that they learn are repeated to us at home.
All of what I am telling you happened a few months ago during the school year and I believe this conversation occurred on a rainy day. After Oliver told me about Jesus calming the storm, we talked about Oliver’s fears, particularly his fear of thunderstorms. Then he asked me, “Mommy, what are you afraid of?” I froze. I couldn’t speak. My eyes got teary and I finally managed to say, “I’m afraid of snakes.” His response was, “I don’t like snakes either!” And that was the end of our conversation.
While I really do not like snakes, I wasn’t about to tell him my biggest fear (and the one that entered my mind immediately when he asked the question). You see, my biggest fear is that something bad will happen to Oliver or his brother. I’m afraid that they will get sick, really sick. I’m afraid that they will get hurt in an accident. I’m afraid that they will die.
This is not something that I have shared with too many people. One person I have shared it with is another bereaved mom. She assured me that she holds the same fear, as do many other bereaved parents who have living children. For bereaved parents who have lost their only child, I’m sure the fear resides in losing another loved one, such as a spouse, sibling or parent. I used to be afraid of myself dying. That’s not so much the case anymore. I certainly do not want to leave my husband or children, especially at such a young age, but my fear has now shifted to my living children. If I have lost one child, what’s to say that I won’t lose another?
For some of you, this post is probably a bit uncomfortable. But here’s the deal. We all die. Every creature created by God dies. Plants, animals and humans. We are not exempt. Death is not a topic that people like to discuss. Trust me. Rodger and I have learned this quite well over the past 15 months. But it’s reality.
In the past week, three families have been in the middle of a storm, all of which we are connected to in some way.
A week ago, a family in our church lost their newborn son to a genetic disorder. They found out about his fatal diagnosis at 19 weeks gestation. Baby Jack was born at 38 weeks and lived for three days in the arms of his loving family. What a blessing that they had those hours and days with him!
On Monday, a local 30 year old man went for a run and never returned home. He is a husband, father, son and brother. His body was found yesterday morning. While we do not know this man or his family, we have friends that do. There is also a connection to the town he lived in, for it is the same town where all of our children were born. It is a town similar to where we live now with a strong sense of community among those who live there. The outpouring of love for this man’s family has been amazing to watch.
Just this evening, a friend’s father passed away. His body succumbed to the same disease that took my grandmother. Our friend and his wife are very dear to our hearts and we are saddened by their loss.
It has been a week of sadness and sorrow. Some storms have been brewing for a while. Others came on suddenly with no warning. While we do not know everyone personally who has been involved in these losses this week, they all hit home for various reasons. One common thing about all of the losses this week is that God has been with each one of these families, and they know it. The parents of baby Jack are not personal friends of ours, but from what I have been told, have a very strong faith and have put their trust in God over these past twenty weeks. The family of the missing runner talked openly on camera about their son being at Home with God and how they have relied on their faith to get them through the days of not knowing where their son was. Our friends who are mourning the loss of their father have shown great faith through his illness. They were able to have conversations with their father about God, death and believing because of their strong faith in God.
Has fear been involved in each of these storms? Of course. Has God been present in their lives despite their fear? You bet. Will God calm the storm? Yes, but only He knows when that will happen.
Ever since the conversation with my son about Jesus calming the storm, my biggest fear has subsided … some. My son, who was five at the time (he just celebrated his 6th birthday!!) gave me the assurance that God is with me, always. God knows my fears and He can calm my fears. I have to turn my fears over to Him and trust in Him. I pray that my boys live a long life. If they don’t, I know that God will be with me, just as He was when Kyleigh died.