Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Letter of Peace and Comfort

   Not long ago, a friend asked me a question regarding the loss of a child and heaven.  I don't remember the specific question, and I didn't have an answer for her, but I shared the following letter with her. It was written by J. Knox Chamblin, a former professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, after the death of our son Matthew Knox.  Our Knox was named for Knox Chamblin and the theologian John Knox so that alone made the letter precious to us. Knox Chamblin has since joined Matthew Knox in heaven.  I was asked to share this on my blog and so I am!

Dear Jon and Rachel:

Ginger and I want you to know of or love for you, and of our prayers on your behalf since we learned of the death of your son Knox. I know we cannot enter fully into your present experience, for it is one we have not shared. But we are parents and granparents; and when I try to think how I would feel if one were suddenly to be taken from me, I can identify to some degree with your present grief and loss.

I know that the ways of God are often impenetrable to our finite minds, and that many of our experiences in this life are very hard, or impossible, to understand.  But I also know that the suffereings and sorrows of this life help to prepare us for the life to come, and that when Jesus returns he will grant to his people gorious resurrection bodies - bodies fit for life in the heavenly kingdom. Paul 'rejoiced in the hope of the glory of God,' even as he experienced affliction and sorrow. In fact, if I read Romans 5: 2-5 aright, it was especially his sufferings that caused his hope to grow.

In heaven we shall participate in 'the communion of saints' to a degree that we can now neither experience nor scarcely imagine. I believe that an integral part of that experience will be to help one another to grow in the knowlege of the Holy Trinity, and of ourselves. I believe also that you will meet your infant son in heaven, and that you will then come to know one another as you unable to do in this life.  (Job would meet no less than 20 children in heaven - the ten he lost, and the ten that God gave him in their place.) I think it is also possible that in the heavenly glory you will both be granted by God the privilege of assisting him in the spiritual nurture of your son - just as you son will then be a channel of God's love to you.

May God grant to you his very own consolation. May he overwhelm you by his holy and merciful and gentle and mighty presence. may he pitch his tent beside you and hold you in his fatherly embrace.  May he quieten you with his love, and rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).  And may the Holy Spirit cause his fruit to ripen in your lives - especially peace and joy (Galatians 5:22).  I thank God for your family, our times together at RTS, and your present place of service.

Your brother in Christ,

Knox Chamblin.

1 comment:

Abby said...

What a precious letter from a precious man. I grew up with Dr. Chamblin, and he was always a kind and compassionate man. It makes my heart smile to think of the Knox's together in the presence of their Jesus! Heaven is all the sweeter for their presence there.

I know this time of year is difficult for you, Rachel, and I will pray that God continue to "pitch His tent beside you" as you journey through life, love and loss with Him.

We love you, Anderson Fam!