Monday, December 8, 2008

Cling On

Not a Star Trek creature but a command and a question. What are you clinging to? What can any of us cling to that won't evade our grasp?

I have a notoriously faulty memory (just ask my husband) but there are a handful of scenes from the past few months that I will never forget. One of them was picking up Isaac's ashes from the funeral home. It was a dark, stormy winter day. Not unusual for the midwest but it was cold and wet. It had started raining the day Isaac died and continued off an on all week. It was as if the heavens opened and God Himself wept with us.

The sweet funeral director asked in a kind voice if we would like to see our son's ashes. 'Yes,' we replied with tears already welling up. A few turns of a screwdriver and a minute later, there he was. Two tablespoons of white sand. Like the kind you see on a rocky beach filled with shells.

We held what was left of our son, wept, composed ourselves and walked away. As we drove home I told John through tears how grateful I was that Jesus rose from the dead, because it gave me hope that I would see my son again. Since all I had left of him was nothing that I could cling to, I clung to the fact that Christ rose to eternal life and by His grace, my son would too.

That gut-wrenching experience was deeply human and spiritual. I learned a lifelong lesson in a moment - there is nothing in this world that I can cling to that won't leave me. Jesus Christ is the only One whom I can cling to whom I will never be bereft of.

As I walk through this valley of the shadow of death, I am thankful for the opportunity to know Christ as my comforter; to experience the binder of the broken hearted heal mine. This God who daily bears my burdens knows what it is to die. His Father knows what it feels like to lose His precious son. This loving Trinity promises me, a sinful wretch that He shall never leave me nor forsake me and declares to me that He loves me as much as He loves Himself.

Shortly before He faced death by crucifixion Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father: "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one. I in them and You in Me that they may be perfected in unity; that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You loved Me." (John 17:22-23)

I have written elsewhere but it is worth repeating that we believers ought never to think that God does not love us when His providence frowns upon us. "For He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not along with Him, freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). When God blesses us, He is good. When He takes His blessings from us, He is still good. He is still loving. He has forever declared His love for us on a little hill called Calvary. For there, He slew His only beloved Son out of love for sinful wretches, that He might redeem us and make us into a beautiful bride for His Son. As John Piper says, not sparing His Son was the difficult thing that makes all other works on our behalf easy.

Cling to Christ, believer.
Come to Christ, unbelieving rebel.

God may take our children and our spouses and our friends and our jobs and our homes and our food and our very lives, but He will never, never take His Son from us. So, cling to Christ, the sufficient Savior. Cling on with me. Cling on.


Nicole said...

Isaac is beautiful! Thanks for the words of encouragement and displaying the strength that others can follow.


Christie said...

Very well said...I appreciate the time you put into writing these things down for our encouragement. Love You!!

Patrick said...

John and Nicole:
Thank you for sharing your son Isaac with us - this is a beautiful tribute to him and encouragement to all who see and above all glorifying our Savior.

In Christ,

Alysson said...

I am so sad for you both...I love you, Nicole. Give beautiful Carla a hug and kiss for me.

Miss You!

Anonymous said...

John and Nicole,
Thank You both for sharing your special gift from God with us, for letting the world know that Christ is worthy of all our praise! Thank You also for the encouragement this brings and the hope that we in Christ have to look forward to!

The Fudges

Claussen Family said...

Just found your tribute to Isaac. Beautifully done and bringing me to Praise HIM all the more! Thank you for sharing him with us through the beautiful pictures