[One of the things that I have learned as a father, is that when your child is hurt, the whole family is wounded. Things at home come to a standstill. Times slows to a crawl. Pleasures fade. Interests dwindle to nothing. Work doesn’t matter. Food has no taste. Both the hearts of mother and father are so deeply involved with the child that nothing else seems to exist.
Have you ever thought about when our heavenly father sent the dear Jesus from the glory of heaven to the sin poisoned atmosphere of our world, and for no other purpose but to die? Don’t you know that after the incarnation, heaven must have become very quiet? For a committed, loving parent, there is parental happiness when a healthy child comes into the world. There is celebration. But when our child is sick or hurt or lost, our deepest fears come surging to the surface, and we ask ourselves, “where is God?” It was with us and our hurt in mind, that our heavenly father specifically sent Jesus to our world for one thing, and that was to die for our sins. He did this so that we could live. Jesus’ life and death was the only antidote in the universe for sin. Sometimes, when we say those words it almost comes out sounding glib, or flippant. But for those who are going through that fiery trial, that fiery trial of death, either with yourself or with someone dearly close to you, there is nothing that brings consolation except the knowledge and the hope of the resurrection. Jesus died for you. He died for your loved one, so that if you will only believe and accept him as both Lord and Savior, you may have the certainty of life beyond the grave. You may have that certainty of life in the beautiful paradise called heaven. Heaven is a paradise, and it is a paradise because Jesus is there.
If you are one of those who are right now, hurting and scared, and in some way, going through that fiery trial of death, remember that if you have accepted Jesus into your heart and life, he is right there with you. He will never leave you, he will be with you every step of the way. And when you reach that other side, you will see his face, and you will behold his glory forever. “May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –MWP]
In all the literature of sacred experience…
…that has grown around that wonderful child’s prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” I have seen few narratives more affecting than this. It was related long ago by a pastor of St John’s Church, New York.
Part of the wall of a burnt house, he said, had fallen on a six or seven-year-old boy, and terribly mangled him. Living in the neighbourhood, I was called in to see the stricken household. “The little sufferer was in intense agony. Most of his ribs were broken, his breast-bone crushed, and one of his limbs fractured in two places. His breathing was short and difficult He was evidently dying. I spoke a few words to him of Christ, the ever-present and precious Friend of children, and then, with his mother and an older sister, knelt before his bed. Short and simple was our prayer. Holding the lad’s hand in mine, I repeated the children’s gospel: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
He disengaged his hand from mine, and folded his. We rose from our knees. His mind began to wander. He called his mother, “I’m sleepy, mamma, and want to say my prayers.” “Do so, my darling,” replied the sobbing mother.”
“Now I lay me—down–to sleep; I
Pray thee, Lord, my soul—to keep—If
…and then he was beyond the river of death.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;