As You Mourn

We were excited! We were expecting three new grandchildren early in the summer. As the young women’s due dates drew near our excitement increased. The first baby reached full term, but he arrived stillborn. Our family was overcome with grief, especially the parents, who had lost their first child.
A month later, the second baby arrived. He seemed healthy at first, but he had a birth defect, and the Lord took him when he was 5 days old. The two little cousins were buried together, and their gravestone read, “The Lord hath need of them.”
The Saturday six weeks before the third baby was due, we had a baby shower planned. My husband answered the phone that morning, and I heard him say, “This certainly changes our plans for this afternoon.” Our daughter had just given birth to a still-born son. He also was their firstborn. Three children gone in less than six weeks. I was broken-hearted and soaked a box of tissues.
The next day was Sunday. How could I go into the Lord’s presence to remember Him in His death with tears running down my face and such a burden of grief in my heart for those three sorrowing mothers?
I picked up my Bible with no enthusiasm. My reading that morning was in Deuteronomy 26. How could there be a verse there to dry my tears? The chapter is about how the Israelites were to rejoice before the Lord for bringing them into a land flowing with milk and honey and for establishing them there. When they came into the Lord’s presence, they were to bring a basket full of the first of all their fruits, and one of the things they were to say before the Lord was: “I have not eaten thereof in my mourning  ...  nor given thereof for a dead person” (Deut. 26:1414I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me. (Deuteronomy 26:14) JND).
I was about to come into the presence of the Lord and eat bread that represents His holy body given in death for our redemption. How could I eat of it in my mourning or how could I drink of that blessed cup while my mind was filled with thoughts of the babies’ deaths? I asked the Lord to take away all such personal thoughts and tears so I would be able to worship Him without distraction. He graciously granted my request. Though tears came again later, He enabled me to sit calmly in His presence as we broke the bread in remembrance of Himself and all He has done for us, and I was thankful.