“My son turns twenty-two tomorrow, and there have been no championship games or prom dances. He didn’t walk across a stage at his high school graduation. He will not drive a car or go to college. He will never have a job, a wife, or children. The natural progressions of my son’s life get less hopeful with each passing year. The milestones are gut wrenching and the future is filled with painful questions: Where will he live out his life? Who will care for him when we’re gone? What if he is mistreated or neglected? When will the side affects of a lifetime of harsh medications and debilitating disabilities take their toll on his body, organs and mind? Will he suffer? Will he know we loved him to the end? My son turns twenty-two tomorrow and he is not getting better, he is getting worse…My son turns twenty-two tomorrow, and his mom and I will grieve—deeply, silently, secretly, and personally.”
I have been deeply touched by Greg’s words and his son’s situation. First and foremost, of course, I have felt great sympathy for that family and the pain they deal with daily. My heart truly goes out to them. But oddly that has, in turn, led to a great deal of gratitude welling up inside me. It is terribly easy to get so caught up in the stresses and demands of life that we lose sight of the incredible blessings that God showers on us. We suffer setbacks or disappointments and can get focused on dissatisfaction over wherever we might be in life. After all, no matter where we are, things could always be better. But when I read Greg’s words I found myself thinking about my own children and their spouses. They are all healthy people, walking with the Lord, living life to the fullest. What a joy they are! We were not guaranteed that we would have that blessing. Laurie and I have been through the awful experience of losing a child and know all too well that there are no guarantees in this life. I find myself thanking God over and over for my children and their spouses, and I find I want to go hug those amazing kids. May we never forget to continually give thanks for blessings like them.
One other reaction I had to Greg’s words was that it was another reminder to me of the utter, crucial nature of the hope of the gospel. He went on to write that though they grieve they do not grieve as those who have no hope. They look forward to the day when the power of the resurrection will transform their son’s body so that it will be like the glorious body of our risen Lord. If all we have is this life, the Lucas family has only loss, sadness and tragedy. But because our citizenship is in heaven this life is not all we have. It is not all the Lucas family has. What a precious gift the good news of Jesus Christ is, for it gives us what we need most in this life, a hope that is an anchor for our souls.