11 01 2013

Last week I had to do one of the hardest things that accompany the life of a Pastor. I was asked to officiate the funeral service of a baby. This should not ever have to be! Birth should be a time of celebration and not a season of uncontrollable grief! And as long as I live as human being- I cannot begin to explain why cruddy things like this have to happen to anybody! There are no words to aptly take away the immense pain that attempts to suffocate a soul at moments like these! And as for the old cliché that says “Time heals all wounds,” well the person who said that had to have rocks in their head!

I do know how these two young people felt! Death right after a birth has happened to my wife and me three times! Actually- counting two other miscarriages- Terri and I have five children already in Heaven in addition to our four living here on earth! And if you want to know the truth- even though I know that my children who have graduated to glory are much better off where they are now- I still wish I had all 9 with me here right now! After coming alongside that broken young couple the other day and the emotionally beaten up grandparents- I reminisced a bit about what those feelings are all about. I thought that what I felt then might help somebody today who thinks that “faith” only works when life goes your way! Life has rarely gone my way and there have been many tears along with my blood and sweat and cries along the highway of my journey! Let me take you back to the actual “Speaking In The Light Article” I wrote right after my son’s Benjamin’s short stay here on earth back in March of 1999!

“On Sunday morning, March 7th at 9:27 in the morning, my son Benjamin Philip entered the world. His stay on this earth was not to be a long one. At 9:33, just six short minutes later, he went from the arms of his parents to the Hands of God. That last statement describing Benjamin’s passing is not just wishful thinking. It is no way meant to be a passing cliché just said to make me feel better. The reality of God and the hope of heaven is what keep my heart beating and my blood flowing in the midst of such brokenness. The vast, infinite depth of the love of God is the only thing that keeps us from drowning in the ocean of our own grief and suffocating from the huge amount of disappointment that smacks us often and regularly right in the face. We can’t get away from the grim reality that we are not going to have the privilege to raise this beautiful little boy. God is very real for times such as these. Instead of blaming Him, we choose to lean on Him and plant ourselves firmly on the truth that God is our refuge and strength when the things of this earth prove to be fragile and incapable of holding any real weight.

Reason would tell you that it could never happen again. In April of 1995, our little boy Nicholas Paul was born at 24 weeks and his stay too was limited to just ninety minutes. We spent a whole lifetime in an hour and a half. We grieved and mourned but looked above and received the grace we needed to carry on. My wife and I had the hope that in the days to come, we would have the joy of raising one more child. We had experienced two miscarriages prior to the birth of my son, Rudy III in August of 1986. In 1988, my daughter Leah was born and she would later be joined by her sister Abbie in 1991. We all prayed daily for the health of our new son to come and anticipated his arrival which was supposed to come this June 1999.
Quite suddenly, everything changed! Tragedy rarely makes an appointment. Crisis moments are not the times to prepare; they are usually the times that expose whether you have done any preparation in the first place. Our faith was to be tested again. Many people are comfortable enough to kneel at an altar but God truly desires you to get up upon the altar and say, “Whatever my situation Lord, I will obey and serve You.” He wants all of you, not just your weekly words of allegiance. I could hear myself saying, “Not again Lord. You wouldn’t make us go through this again, would You?” I could not understand why this was happening. But why did Moses have to be rescued from a river? Why did all those innocent babies have to die just to appease King Herod’s hatred? Why did the Holocaust have to happen? Why do so many innocent unborn babes die each day in the name of convenience while so many arms of willing parents-to-be go empty? Why did Jesus have to die such a cruel death for a world that mostly ignores Him and uses His name as a response to hitting their hand with a hammer? Why did Benjamin have to die?

The “Why’s” will be answered someday and somewhere down the road! They will be answered by a loving God who is redeeming the mess left by a lost and hurting generation that chose their own way in the first place. No answer would be an adequate substitute to having my son in my arms anyway. I do know that I won’t let the unanswered questions keep my spirit from the only hope to save my soul! I pray that you my readers who have faced fierce tragedy would not choose the road that ends in bitterness and hatred, but that you would humbly and gently come to the Lord. This is a Lord who will hold you when you can’t hold up any longer! He doesn’t give cheap answers and meaningless pep talks. He gives me a passion and homesickness for Heaven that drives me to minister on!”

I wrote those words back in 1999 and against all odds- God did bless Terri and I with one more son, Joel Thomas who was miraculously born in July of 2003! But even today in 2013- through it all- as God gives and takes away- all I can truly say is what Job said: “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!” Life is precious- each and one- each and every day! Don’t miss it!!!



3 responses

12 01 2013

Beautifully written Pastor Rudy you are so right!!

17 01 2013
Kim Becker

I am forwarding this to my brother, Jeff. Today his son, Justin, turns 8 & is having a brain tumor removed. Thanks for this message.

17 01 2013

I am forwarding this to my brother, Jeff. His son, Justin, turns 8 today & is having a brain tumor removed. Thanks for this message.

Leave a Reply to kimkbecker Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: