Find Glory In God
We ought to focus on God’s glory and how our children’s lives, however short, have created a legacy to magnify God’s glory. My deceased son’s earthly remains are buried in a row of graves of children in a large cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Not far from this row of children’s graves are some of the oldest graves in the cemetery. On these graves sit huge grave markers erected in honor of the deceased. In death so as in life, these ostentations markers are not only a display of wealth but of the competition that likely existed between the prominent families of the day. In comparison to these ostentatious markers is the simple marker for my son. His life was so short that he had no opportunity to “distinguish himself,” from a human perspective. His earthly life was not long enough to be worthy of human recognition or human “glory.”
But as it relates to what is eternally glories, what is worthy of our ultimate affection and attention, our children are not “missing out” on any opportunities to gain for themselves the notoriety, or “glory,” from having lived a successful and productive life in the eyes of the world. In comparison to the greatness of God’s own legacy, the legacies of the greatest political leaders, the greatest soldiers, and the greatest athletes of all time are like drops in an ocean. King David notes, “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”
Psalm 103:15. Similarly, the Apostle Peter, citing the prophet Isaiah, contrasts the brevity of human life with the eternal application of the Word of God. “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:24.
In the end, we should be grateful that God’s glory will infinitely outshine any human glory. In comparison to the glory due to God, the greatest human beings who have ever lived will receive about the same glory as our deceased children. While Americans might feel that certain individuals, should receive greater recognition, and while parents feel like their deceased children should not be forgotten, we will someday all agree that the attributes and activities of God are of infinitely greater worth than any and all human achievements. Our eternity will be defined by God’s glory, not our own.
- “Your name endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages. “ Psalm 135:13.
- “But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations.” Lamentations 5:19.
- “All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.”Psalm 138: 4-5.
- “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. “ Ecclesiastes 3:14.
- “But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; You are remembered throughout all generations….Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD: That he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord look at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD, and in Jerusalem his praise, when people gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.” Psalm 102: 12, 18-22.
- “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11; Isaiah 45:23.
From an eternal perspective, our deceased children did not “miss out” on any opportunities to “make a name” for themselves. If your child had lived a “full” life in human terms (e.g., 85 years), then to the extent that he was successful in “making a name for himself,” it may have detracted from his ability to find true joy, found in Jesus Christ alone. In fact, our deceased infant children already have a great head start on where all of us are headed--to be more and more consciously aware of the superior worth, praiseworthiness and glory of God over anything in creation. Rather than living our lives trying to honor the legacy of our deceased child, we can provide greater honor to our now-deceased children by recognizing the limitations on “human” glory and esteem, and change our affections to become more God-centered in who we ultimately esteem.