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For the Grieving Parent with the Loss of a Child

The story of our children who have died has just begun. The Bible gives us a different hope.

Jun 3, 2022

Today is the day on the calendar that specifically reminds us of the loss of our sweet daughter to disease and death. On this day, I like to write to myself and you who also have lost a child, grandchild, or sibling to an early death. Today, I consider our grief as those who have experienced the loss of a child. 

The Bible teaches that we who know Jesus Christ as our Savior and have eternal hope through Him do not grieve as others without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Instead, the Bible teaches that we grieve with hope. Yes, we still grieve. Our hearts still break, we deal with sadness, and a hole remains in our lives here on earth. Yet, we do not simply have earth upon which to contemplate, consider, and meditate. We have another chapter.

The story of our children, the story of us, and the story of the redeemed do not end with a date on a calendar, a date inscribed on a headstone, or a date etched in our hearts. Thankfully, the day on the calendar that our child died is just the end of a chapter, the end of an earthly journey for our children, and a time of separation. Just as we say our goodbyes to a traveling family member, friend, or neighbor, who we plan to see again, we say a temporary goodbye to our child who has died. But, this story is not over; it has not ended. The story of our children who have died has just begun. The Bible gives us a different hope.

God makes sure in the Bible that your grief has a foundation. Those without the truth of the Bible who have lost a child grieve much deeper than those of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Why? Because God makes it clear to us both the story of your child is not over, and the longer chapter is still to be written.

Think about the life of your child as a chapter in your life. The chapter with your child in it, depending upon many different life circumstances, has a particular length to it. There were chapters in your life before your child. There will be chapters in your earthly life without your child. But the longest chapter of your life —with your child included— awaits. The longest chapter is yet to be written, but is guaranteed. In God’s plan, it is already written; we just have not realized that part of our story yet. Here’s a small glimpse of it.

A New Heaven, a New Earth, and a New Jerusalem

The Bible teaches that in the future, God will make a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem. This new world will be the start of our eternity together with Him. The description of that day is incredible. Consider how one writer describes it:

The current heavens and earth have long been subject to God’s curse because of mankind’s sin. All creation “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22) as it awaits the fulfillment of God’s plan and “the children of God to be revealed” (verse 19). Heaven and earth will pass away (Mark 13:31), and they will be replaced by the new heavens and the new earth. At that time, the Lord, seated on His throne, says, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). In the new creation, sin will be totally eradicated, and “there shall be no more curse” (Revelation 22:3).

The new heaven and new earth are also mentioned in Isaiah 65:17, Isaiah 66:22, and 2 Peter 3:13. Peter tells us that the new heaven and new earth will be “where righteousness dwells.” Isaiah says that “the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” Things will be completely new, and the old order of things, with the accompanying sorrow and tragedy, will be gone.

The new earth will be free from sin, evil, sickness, suffering, and death. It will be similar to our current earth but without the curse of sin. It will be earth as God originally intended it to be. It will be Eden restored.

A major feature of the new earth will be the New Jerusalem. John calls it “the Holy City . . . coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). This glorious city, with its streets of gold and pearly gates, is situated on a new, glorious earth. The tree of life will be there (Revelation 22:2). This city represents the final state of redeemed mankind, forever in fellowship with God: “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. . . . His servants will serve him. They will see his face” (Revelation 21:3; 22:3–4).

In the new heavens and new earth, Scripture says, there are seven things notable for their absence—seven things that are “no more”:
• no more sea (Revelation 21:1)
• no more death (Revelation 21:4)
• no more mourning (Revelation 21:4)
• no more weeping (Revelation 21:4)
• no more pain (Revelation 21:4)
• no more curse (Revelation 22:3)
• no more night (Revelation 22:5)

The Next Chapter

All of this and more awaits you if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.1 Your next chapter awaits. It includes your child, you, Jesus Christ, the saints of the ages, a new earth, a new heaven, and a new Jerusalem. Oh my fellow sufferer, God tells us these things —He promises us these things— so that we grieve with hope. As great as our loss is today, right now, there is coming a day when we will feel no more loss. Our tears, sadness, and grief in a moment as if one awakes from a dream will be gone forever. God promises it. This new reality is on the first page of the next chapter.

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