Summary: This series aims to narrow the gap between scriptural instruction and our day-to-day challenges.

Losing Someone You Love

Tuff Stuff Series - #6

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Gages Lake Bible Church

Pastor Daniel Darling

Larry Fowler, in his book, Raising a Modern Day Joseph, shares a tragic story that happened to some good friends of his:

A large number of parents will identify a tragic event like the death of a child as their Most Difficult Moment. That was the case with our dear friends Bob and Lee Baldwin, with whom we worked closely in ministry years ago.

At their church in Southern California, Bob served on Sunday mornings as the sound technician, and part of his duties was to close and lock up the church. One Easter Sunday, Bob stayed behind after the service to help lock up while Lee and their three boys went on ahead to her father’s house for an Easter meal with a large number of their extended family.

Bob arrived late, just as after-dinner preparations were underway for a big Easter egg hunt, a highlight of the afternoon. The adults went to the front yard to hide eggs after leaving the numerous kids inside the house. Meanwhile, Bob fixed himself a plate of food and headed out back along with a friend. The two men sat on the patio near a swimming pool.

What no one noticed was that Bob and Lee’s three-year old, Chad, had stayed in the backyard and was playing with a toy car by the edge of the pool. Bob and his friend never saw him. The car fell into the pool; trying to retrieve it, little Chad went into the water as well. He slipped beneath the pool cover and couldn’t find his way out.

After about ten minutes, the adult’s came in from the front yard, realized Chad was missing, and started the frantic search. By the time they finally found him, it was too late. Bob and Lee lost their precious little boy in a horrible accident.

What happened to Bob and Lee was the worst fear for a parent. You can imagine Bob’s feelings that day and for the rest of his life. Besides the grief of losing his child, imagine the second-guessing and blaming. If only I’d counted the kids. If only I’d looked out over at the pool. If only I’d left church early.

Nothing like this has ever happened to me, so I can’t lie and say I know how it feels or even how you are supposed to feel.

But I have talked to parents who have lost their children and they say there is no greater grief, because you’re not supposed to bury your children. They are supposed to bury you.

A Sad Father

The Bible records the sad story of a father mourning over the loss of a child. Most of you know the story of Jacob and of Joseph.

Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. Genesis 37:3 (KJV)

There are a lot of reasons why Joseph may have been Jacob’s favorite son. I will say this, as parents, favoritism is never right, it’s never healthy, and it always produces strife.

But there are several reasons Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son.

First, Joseph was the son of Jacob’s old age. I think this may also mean that Jacob acknowledged his mistakes with his other sons.

Second, Joseph was the child of Rachel. Rachel was the only woman Jacob loved. We read earlier in Genesis:

And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:

And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son. Genesis 30:22-24 (KJV)

You see, in those days, a woman not being able to bear children was considered by God to be a curse. In fact, earlier in chapter 30, Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children or I die.”

You can imagine the grief and the pain they endured because of Rachel’s barrenness. Meanwhile, the other wives of Jacob continued to produce children, obviously making Rachel jealous. By the way, this is one of many reasons polygamy is a bad idea.

In those days it was legal, but it still wasn’t right. It was never God’s plan. Plus, from a practical standpoint, imagine Jacob having to find peace in this house.

I have enough time keeping one woman happy! I can’t imagine four. And don’t even get into Solomon and his 1,000 wives!

But notice, when Joseph was born, Rachel said, “God has taken away my reproach.” Was God judging Jacob for his previous life of scheming? We don’t know. But we do know that Joseph was treasured and loved above the other children.

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