One Who Had Lost an Only Son: Reflections and Experiences

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The soul ought not to need it, but still it is conscious that what has happened in the midst of us has given a fresh sense of oneness with the Lord. The thought that one who has been my object for so many years is now in His company as His object, tells me that there is another link between the heart and heaven. One whom I-so lately appropriated here, my Lord now appropriates in paradise. In circumstances I am thus nearer to Him, and He is of a mind to have it so. The unjealous love of the blessed Lord allows this.
And this has been much prized by me lately. The Lord warrants our finding mere circumstances a help to our hearts, even in those cases in which He might have said to us, that He Himself was all-sufficient. He is a jealous God, I know, and will not allow us to have any other. He is a jealous Savior, I also know, and will not allow us to have any other. But in a great sense, He is not a jealous Friend. He allows other connections a n d affections to move our hearts, as well as Himself. When Paul saw the brethren he took courage (Acts 28:1515And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. (Acts 28:15)). Did the Lord resent this? Did He rebuke Paul's experience at that moment as though it had done wrong to Him? Did He tell him that he had His presence before, and that that ought to have been enough for him? No. He warranted His servant thus finding refreshment in the countenance and companionship of brethren. And so to this hour He is well pleased and only well pleased when our poor hearts are open to like influences.
Yes, He allows all this, and more than allows it. Prayer too, and the sweetness of being alone with Him, are more to the soul than ever. And this He also warrants. He gives our hearts liberty to determine the character of our communion with Him. Let it be, He says, according to your condition. "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms." This is not the way of a master, or a patron. The patron's pleasure or humor must give color to the scene around him. It was dangerous to sully the presence of the Persian King with sadness. There was danger of death if one had a heavy countenance there (Neh. 2:1, 21And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. 2Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, (Nehemiah 2:1‑2)). But God's presence gives play to the heart and its conditions, whatever they may be. If "such things have befallen" us (Lev. 10:1919And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord? (Leviticus 10:19)), we need not eat the sacrifices. If we be in a strange land, the harp of God may be hung by our hand, which should have awakened it, on the willows. "Is any afflicted? let him pray."
I have felt the grace of such a word as this. It indulges nature, and makes affliction welcome in the sanctuary. The full acceptableness of our communion with our Lord is not for a moment to be questioned, because the affections of nature are giving it its character.
The recollection of our boy is one of great delight to me, as a witness of the way of God with the soul. And in that recollection (vivid as it will be, I doubt not, for the rest of my days) what a companion for my journey onward has my God given me! But the loss of his presence and his voice is what the like trial alone can teach any to understand. Nothing remains to our hearts now of this joy from our child, but "the echo of it in memory's land." But I ask myself, What is the comfort that I desire to enjoy under this? I believe I can somewhat feel that it is this-that my Father still enjoys that cry of conscious adoption from my lips, as from thousands beside. Our God delights to have His house and His ear filled with the living witness that it is children who are under His roof and at His side.
Was not God's hand known in giving Job a family at the beginning? Was not the same hand seen in taking them away as with a stroke? And was not the same hand still traced in giving him another family, and in making his latter end better than his beginning? And so in our little history. It was the Lord who gave us our child some twenty years ago; it was His hand that lately took him from the midst of us; and it was the precious power of His Spirit that has left with us the remembrance of such a work in his soul, as in a great sense makes our latter end, as parents, better than our beginning.
And I have learned with a fresh witness how dear to the Lord is a spirit of entire dependence. For there is nothing in the recollections of my child Which so affects me as his state of dependence upon me, and the freedom with which at all times he used me. He wanted me by night and by day. He wanted me to do the smallest and meanest services for him. His helplessness, from the loss of one arm and the disease of the other, was such that I was as a nail or a finger to him, as well as an arm or a hand. But let the service be as trivial or as menial as it could be, he knew his heartiest welcome to it, and without apology used it at all times.
There is nothing to my heart like the recollection of this. I am sure that I can say that. It teaches me afresh to think of. my Father. How sure am I at this moment that nothing in His saints is more acceptable with Him than this same ready and confiding use of Him. The recollection that my child needed me in all things, and used me in all things, is the sweetest and tenderest possession of my heart. And if we that are evil understand these affections and joys, how much more our heavenly Father! Our services are due to our divine Master, and acceptable with Him. But they are not to His heart what our confidence and use of Him is. To rest in His everlasting, personal love is the highest joy we can afford Him.