Relationship Help | How to Cope with the Death of a Child

…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

   “A men’s retreat I attended focused on the second part of that verse — the part about being called according to His purpose. The first part of the verse — that all things work together for good, to those who love God — started more than two years ago when my 19 year old son died.

   “One Saturday morning, on my way to the shower, I saw a light shining from under my son’s door. I reached in to shut it off and found him kneeling next to his bed. Moments later, after the paramedics had done all they could, he was pronounced dead. A few days later the coroner explained that he died from a combination of pain killers and muscle relaxants he was taking for pain from shoulder surgery. No other drugs or alcohol were found in his system.

   “His last journal entry, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ,’ held a special meaning to me that day, knowing that salvation was his. But that Saturday evening I was a broken man, on my knees, calling out to God for understanding of why this had to happen. I was grieving and angry, with many emotions that I could not understand. I fell asleep in prayer for a short time, only to wake up and turn on the TV to help deaden the pain for a while. A speaker was talking about planting seed money in order to reap a harvest. As I watched, I felt that God was telling me to give $1,000 to this speaker’s ministry, which I did. This was the first time that I listened to the Holy Spirit.

   “A few weeks later, after the funeral, my other son, Spencer, invited me to the men’s retreat. It had been years since I had attended church on a regular basis, and I was looking for understanding. God spoke to a broken man that weekend. He opened my heart to the message that, through our desperation and His intervention, comes amazement. God wanted a spirit-to-spirit relationship with me, but I had no clued how to proceed. I only knew that I needed His love and grace.

   “Back to my day-to-day activities, I was drifting away from the relationship that God had started with me. However, I found a small group that put me on an amazing journey. I now realize what an awesome responsibility we have as men, how much God loves us through his grace, and the effect we have on others. Anyone’s relationship with God will change, as mine has, if he is willing to change. For me the biggest obstacle is being oblivious to what I didn’t know, and what I was doing in my relationships with God, my wife and others, or knowing what I could do to change. I was justifying my selfish behavior and was unwilling to put my flesh to death. The answers I’ve received from the Bible, and from Ken Nair’s book, Discovering the Mind of a Woman, have been life-changing.

   “God uses many means to get our attention and teach us; however, I believe a small group that provides accountability does more for our spiritual growth than anything else does in teaching us God’s Word.

   This quote by C.S. Lewis summarizes my feelings perfectly. He works on us in all sorts of ways. But above all, He works on us through each other. Men are mirrors, or ‘carriers’ of Christ to other men. Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. It is so easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects — education, building, missions, holding services… The Church exists for no other purpose but to draw men into Christ, to make them little ‘christs.’ If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other reason.

   “Ken Nair’s book has three goals which I have committed to in order to become more Christ-like.

  • Understanding — We as men are instructed to live with our families in an understanding way, not the other way around. Ken Nair puts it this way regarding our relationship with our wives: That God would help me learn how to meet the needs of my wife, to understand her mind, her way of thinking, and her inmost feelings.
  • Love — Love means putting others first and being unselfish. Love is action, showing others we care, not just saying we do. To show love we must give sacrificially of our time and money to meet the needs of others. Ken Nair says, That would include learning to love her from her frame of reference.
  • Spiritual Leader — To have my family and friends feel comfortable in coming to me with an open heart. Ken Nair says, That I learn how to be the spiritual leader of my home that my spirit might become so sensitive that I would become aware of the Holy Spirit leading my spirit.

   “I Peter 3:7 — Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

   “I now understand the struggles we all have in putting the flesh to death, and our sinful nature. Once I started looking at what I needed to do to become more Christ-like, and leave the rest to God, things started changing. My relationship with my wife of 28 years is now at a new high like the joy and feeling that I had when I was dating her.

   “I find the straight-forward way of what it is to be Christ-like, along with real application examples by Ken Nair in his book, to be very beneficial, challenging and refreshing. Change is painful; however, the rewards are unbelievable when Christ-likeness is our priority for a spirit-to-spirit relationship with God. Reconciliation with God, and the covenant marriage of love with our wives as Christ loved the Church, are more important today than they have ever been.

   “Glory to God,

     Gary S.”

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