This past school year, a 35 year old mother sat in the same piano class with her preschool daughter as I did with my son. I didn’t know the mother very well, but she seemed to have a calm and kind spirit, and I was always blessed by the bubbly joy that emanated from her little girl.
About 6 weeks ago, we learned that this mother had begun experiencing severe migraines. Four malignant tumors appeared on her brain, and she’d been given 4 to 8 weeks to live. Apparently, she had been diagnosed 4 years ago with terminal cancer, but she shared with very few people, as she didn’t want the cancer to “define” her. She felt that God had called her to “live her life fully,” and after her cancer treatments, she enjoyed a year and a half of “feeling normal” (enjoying life as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, worship leader, and missionary) before the cancer fatally spread.
I could barely wrap my mind around this scenario. She has been joyfully and faithfully raising two daughters, ages 4 and 6. They NEED their mama!
Yesterday I saw the two little sisters, dressed in beautiful matching dresses- at their mommy’s memorial service.
So what does this have to do with SIDS, besides being completely tragic and devastating?
Whether a young parent dies or a baby dies, there’s the breaking of a bond between a mother (father) and small child. Which is not natural, and is not okay.
As I sat and cried throughout the memorial service, completely heartbroken for this devoted husband and his two precious girls, I was gently reminded of the power and hope that comes when we release our children into God’s hands.
When we trust God with our children, we are acknowledging that He knows best what they need, and that he will be there for them- even when we cannot. We are believing that he can provide for their every need--when we’re not right there when they fall....when they are out from under our supervision.....when we may not have the right medicine or cure for their ailment or disease.....when we die when the child is still dependent on us.....or at the moment that SIDS or any other tragedy takes the life of our child from us.
The two young daughters of this mother who recently passed may not completely understand God or how to depend on him. But they had a mother who prayed that one day they would. And she was showing them by the way she lived her own life that God was a God who was there. Through her prayers, worship, and service to God, and committing her girls to the Lord, she already gave them more than all she could have provided them herself in a lifetime of living with them. She gave them the truth and hope of Jesus. I have complete confidence that God will continue to provide these girls with the nurture, love, wisdom, and guidance that some might mistakenly believe they have lost in the death of their mother.
The same hope stands for a parent who has suffered the death of a child to SIDS. I wholeheartedly believe that God will provide each grieving parent with the healing, hope, grace, and restoration of joy that some might mistakenly believe are impossible after the death of a baby. AND I have complete confidence that God holds, safe and secure, every baby who has come home to him, eternally providing everything he/she needs- more than a mother or father could ever give to a child in their entire lifetime.
Both scenarios involve a parent(s) entrusting their child to the Lord. So that in this broken world, if a parent and young child are torn apart by death, each falls into the gentle hands of a loving Father who will tenderly hold and care for them, until he beautifully and miraculously brings them back together one day- never to be parted again.
Here are some scriptures to support the truth that God is with us (and our children), and we can fully trust him:
Psalm 139:1-10- “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Zephaniah 3:17- “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Deuteronomy 31:8- “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
**Important note- Please be assured that if your child has died, and you did not dedicate them to God (entrust them to the Lord), God’s Word (the Bible) very strongly leads us to believe that all children who die whose parents either did not dedicate them to God, or who did not have the opportunity (or understanding) to choose to follow Jesus themselves, are still raised to eternal life in heaven with Jesus.