Recently, I spoke with a friend who, like me, lost an adult child. Her son was taken suddenly while I had 101 days of knowing my daughter would not outlive me. In our conversation, we discussed God’s plan for our lives and especially for the lives of our deceased children. In essence, we both have found joy through our great sorrow.
I shared with her my full-circle thinking on God having a plan for each of our lives:
I was taught as a child that God had a plan for our lives, and I experienced God’s guiding hand in the unfolding of my life. However, when Karin died, I could not believe that was part of God’s plan. It was Satan who had killed her. Yet, as time went by, I clearly saw God’s hand at work — especially in the fallout of her children following her death. God had prepared two families to readopt and love each of the two babies from Vietnam she and her husband had adopted. One remained in our family and is still my grandson, while the other is a princess with friends of friends. Nearly a year later, I learned Karin had been connected to her daughter’s new mother through email. The common friend introduced Karin to the mother-to-be for Karin to share her thoughts and experiences on the frustrations and joys of international adoptions. In essence, Karin was training her successor!
I have not only done a 360 in my thoughts about God having a plan for our lives, but God is concerned about the tiniest things. He tells us in Matthew 10:30 even the very hairs of our head is numbered! This minutia came into focus one day when I was being belligerent about speaking to a relative on a certain topic. The phone rang; when I saw the caller ID, I left the phone unanswered, then stubbed my toe badly enough for it to bleed. I realized God was telling me — speak to that individual or worse may happen!
My friend shared her thoughts on God’s plan for her son’s life:
First she quoted Isaiah 49:1b (NIV)
Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
God knows us before we are born, and He knows our name even before our parents do.
God knows everything about us! He is constantly with us. We cannot get away from God’s presence even if we wanted to.
Psalm 139:1-7 (ESV)
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
She finds this comforting to realize omnipresence — that God was there when her son’s life was snuffed out. I have verbalized sensing God’s presence at Karin’s death, though I had not connected this consoling Psalm with those thoughts.
God needed someone to play the role of her son, and of my daughter. She knows her son was willing to do whatever God called him to do. And her son did begin a mighty mission for spreading the gospel. Likewise, God placed Karin on earth to accomplish specific deeds. Both of them had been willing to say, “Here I am! Send me.”
Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
My friend’s story doesn’t end there! Her son is in heaven watching us and cheering us on.
Hebrews 12: 1-2a (ESV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
I also love this verse for genealogical reasons. I envision all of my heavenly relatives watching and encouraging me through life’s storms. Karin is right there with them! In fact, I say my very technological daughter has figured out God’s technology and communicates with me. Now there is the substance of future posts!