My son Chase and my dad were the perfect friends. They spent time together doing just about anything imaginable, so when dad became ill with cancer he began talking to Chase about serious matters.
With the type of mental retardation which plagued Chase, he found it difficult to use his “instant recall.” You could tell him something and he remembered it, he simply had trouble getting it from head to mouth, so to speak.
In the weeks prior to dad’s passing he walked Chase all over his yard and house pointing out specific things and how he’d like them done. Chase became a sponge, soaking up every word. When dad left this world we were all devastated – all of us except Chase.
I wondered about how much he understood about dad’s death and if he really grasped the fact that dad had left this physical world eternally because he never shed a tear.
One Sunday after church, Chase and I were going to the cemetery to put flowers on dad’s grave. It seemed to be the perfect time to approach the subject of death.
“Chase, do you know it’s okay to cry for Papaw?” I asked.
“Yep. I know” He replied.
“You understand Papaw is in heaven, he won’t be here on earth ever again.”
“Yep. I got it.”
My heart sank as I began to realize he didn’t understand death at all. Once more I approached the subject.
“Honey, aren’t you sad that Papaw is gone?”
“Nope.” He replied turning to look me in the eye, “Why would I be sad? Papaw is safe in God’s arms.”
I nearly wrecked the car as my eyes were opened. This sixteen year old child who suffered from mental retardation, understood far more than even I did. All this time I thought he was avoiding the issue of dad’s death he had simplistically grasped hold of it and found comfort. It shamed me that I hadn’t given him ample credit. His wisdom was amazing. Dad had told him not to worry he would be safe in God’s arms. Chase took that to heart, making the loss of dad into a joyous celebration. After all, who wouldn’t want to be in God’s arms?
Isaiah 40:28-29 tells us, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…” God covers us all in every situation. We only have to trust in Him and believe what He has told us.
I no longer mourn dad’s death. Sure, I miss him – but now, I rejoice for him. He was a changed man in the latter years of his life. He was faithful, devote and secure in the thoughts that his life had been made whole. He left this world knowing and believing he would be “safe in God’s arms.” What a confidence and what a peace. Do you have that satisfaction?
Prayer: Precious Father, You are all I need. Keep me safe in Your arms.