Friday, September 16, 2016

Waiting to lose my son

Being faced with the constant reminder that the baby boy I’m raising isn’t my own, that depending on court decisions in the near future, he could be taken from us is… faith-building. And of course, by ‘faith-building’ I mean emotionally tumultuous. I’ve traveled through a gamut of thoughts and emotions over the past months, few of which I could put into words, some of which are a little too dark for me to confess. In the process, however, the Holy Spirit has given me a new lens with which to view Scripture.

The Loss of the Firstborn

From the first family to Jesus, the world has witnessed the devastating losses of the firstborn [male] children.

God lost his son Adam to sin and the East of Eden.

Adam lost his son Cain to sin and wandering.
Adam lost his righteous son to sin-inspired death and received a new son, Seth, through God’s mercy.

Noah lost his son Ham to sin and curse.

Abram lost his first son to sinful jealousy and estrangement.
Abram lost his son of promise to sacrifice in obedience to God… and received him back.

Isaac lost his son Esau to sinful manipulation.[1]
Isaac lost his son Jacob to sinful threats of retribution and estrangement… and received him back through faith in God’s promise.

Jacob/Israel lost his son Joseph to the sinful slave-trading of his other sons.
Jacob/Israel lost his son Simeon to the caprice of Joseph.
Jacob/Israel lost his son Benjamin in desperate hope for life.
And he received them all back because of merciful forgiveness and faith through famine.

Job lost his sons to death because of his righteousness, and received sons again because of the will of God.

The mother of Moses lost her son to the sinful oppression of God’s people, and received him back—for a time—because of her faith and obedience.

Pharaoh lost his son because of his sinful idolatry and blasphemy.
God took back his son Israel from the clasp of Pharaoh for his own glory.
The people of Israel did not lose their firstborn sons to death because they offered the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb to consecrate and redeem their firstborn sons.

Moses nearly lost his son for disobedience, but received him back because of his faithful obedience in the patient mercy of God.

Aaron lost his sons Nadab and Abihu because of their willful profaning of a holy God.

Hannah ‘lent’ her son Samuel to the ministry at Shiloh because of her faith and the Lord’s covenant faithfulness.

Eli lost his sons Hophni and Phinehas to death because of their sin and his own scorn of the glory of God.

Saul lost his son Jonathan to the loyalty of David because of his jealous pride and anger.

David lost his first son Solomon to death in infancy because of sin against God, despite his pleas.
David lost his son Absalom to rebellion and death because of his refusal to pass judgment against oppressors or grant full mercy to avengers, and the arrogance of Absalom.

Mary and Joseph lost their son Jesus for a time because he had to be about his Father’s things.
Mary lost her son Jesus to the Jews, Rome, suffering, the cross, and the tomb because of the sin of the people and the glory of God.
And she received him back—for a time—because death has no power over him.

The Father lost his Son because before the foundation of the world, he planned to redeem humanity through the incarnation.
Lost his Son to an earthly dwelling because of his great love for us.
Lost his Son to the curse of sin and death because he loved us in spite of our great disobedience, rebellion, and hatred.
Lost his Son to the wrath of the Triune God because he is both just and the justifier of those who believe.
Lost his Son to the depths of human despair because he would become our sympathizer.

And the Father received him back because it was the will of God to lay his life down and to take it up again.
Because the glory of God is most clearly revealed in the person and passion of Jesus.
Because he is making all things new, reconciling to himself all things.
Because he accomplished the work he set out to do.

And now he has said, “I have not lost any of the ones you have given me.” And also, “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons” and “You who were once ‘Not My People’ are now called ‘My People” and “he gave them the authority to become children of God,” and “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, you know I will return for you that you may be where I am also.”

And so I am taught.
I am taught that should I lose my son, I sit in line with saints and sinners of ancient days, who whether innocently or justly, for internal or external reasons, lost their sons also.
I am taught that no child needs remain lost when there is a God who will not separate his love from those he has called according to his purpose.
I am taught that the will of God and his thoughts are above my own.
I am taught that there is hope.
I am taught that although loss comes to both the good and the wicked, I am to serve God and obey his commandments—for this is what is given to me under the sun.
Scripture tells us the stories of a son lost. But that son is found.

[1] By which I mean that Isaac was not able to bless Esau has he intended, or to give him his birthright and advance his heritage through the son of his choice.

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