While working at 3 Amigos, a good customer of ours came in again after a brief time away. Most of our customers are transient as they may live in other countries but travel back and forth to the D.R. for work.
In this case this man is Canadian but was born in Haiti 50 years ago to the parents of Missionaries who worked with the poor for over 30 years in that country. Turns out this fellow is also a Christian having been raised up to trust God with his life. For the past few years he and his wife have been bringing teams down to the island to work in a big city on the North Coast of Haiti. Cap Haitien is not far from us, about 6 hours by car and is almost 200,000 people; most of whom are extremely poor.
But this is not the story I want to tell you about. Although the work he and his wife are doing is good and provides better standards of life for many, the story today is about a more personal sacrifice he and his family have made.
Last night, this man whom I hardly know other than our kindred Spirit of God, shared with me the events of the past six weeks. His son of only 27 years suddenly passed away in Canada late in July. After a police investigation and subsequent autopsy it was determined a "natural" death. Meanwhile the parents had now buried their son, and without answers from the authorities as to what happened, tried to pick up their lives.
As I listened to this man share his story about his son, I was overwhelmed with the sense of love and concern he had for all of those affected by this seemingly senseless death of a young man. His concern was stated emphatically that he cared only for his immediate family; his wife, ex-wife, other sons and relatives who did not all have a solid footing in God.
I have also experienced close death in my family but I have never lost my son, which I would feel would be extremely close and absolutely unfair. So what grounds a person into accepting this tragedy? How is it that some can cope and others flee towards medication or worse yet; place the blame entirely on God?
The fact is more than 250,000 people die each and every day all over the world. These statistics are real, most of them dying from natural causes, but many die with question marks attached to them.
Too many people have queried, "Why did you take my son God?" "Why my wife Lord?" "Why me?"
This is probably the toughest subject to deal with from a perspective of Faith, but I have to give it a go because I do not believe in coincidence. God places people in your path for a reason, either they are there to feed into your life or you are there to feed into their's. One or the other.
This is probably one of the most debated topics about God ever since man began dying.
It is very difficult to put in perspective if you do not know God, if you do not have a foundation in how He operates with us as His children. Because we know this truth, "And we know that God makes all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28) NKJV
I fully realize the difficulty of losing a loved family member, having lost my father last year. I do understand that losing your first-born son could be worse, that just maybe it might hurt a bit more. I propose to you that although it seems unfair to you at the time, you should not blame God for "taking" what you loved, the son you raised or the daughter you cherished. This is a truth for each of us who is born; we will live, then we will die.
The real tragedy occurs when people do not accept this axiom of truth about our lives and begin to destroy their own lives as a result of losing a loved one.
You may not all believe in God today, but I would suggest to you that if you find yourself in the same shoes as this man who shared with me about his loss, look at the life that was in your son or daughter. Celebrate the life that was, mourn for a time, for Jesus tells us we will be comforted. (Matt 5:4) NIV
I hope and pray that none of you who read this would ever have to endure the loss of your son or daughter. As the saying goes, There except by the grace of God go I.
I pray that your foundations are grounded in the Faith of the truth, that you would trust Him to live your lives to the fullest so that when the inevitable end comes for the flesh to die you might be ready to see.
None of knows how long we are given to live for this is also a truth of God,
14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Laura and I are nothing special to what we believe we have been called to do here in the D.R. We have simply come as we are, trusting that we might be used mightily to give some people any reason to see the good of God for our lives. It is almost daily that someone new comes into our lives and all we do is listen to them as they pour out their hearts and hurts in front of perfect strangers.
But are we really strangers? Are we so far apart from each other that many do not have someone to share our hurts and concerns with?
The community of mankind is supposed to be like this, the Kingdom of God is bearing one another's burdens when we can. But the greatest truth to Faith is trusting Jesus as He tells us,
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."