Those who have lost a child, or who have lost another loved one, inevitably face the pain of separation and the longing for reunification. In my own sorrows I have often been comforted by some sweet words written by Thomas Smyth, a man who on one day laid two precious children in the very same grave. Though he writes specifically to bereaved parents, his words will resonate with all of those who have loved and lost.
Can we not with David rejoicingly declare, “They cannot come to us, but we can go to them?” Yes, we can go to them. They are not lost, but gone before. There in that world of light, and love, and joy, they await our coming. There do they beckon us to ascend. There do they stand ready to welcome us. There may we meet them, when a few more suns or seasons shall have cast their departing shadows upon our silent grave. Then shall our joy be full and our sorrows ended, and all tears wiped from our eyes.
Death separates, but it can never disunite those who are bound together in Christ Jesus. To them, death in his power of an endless separation, is abolished. It is no more death, but a sweet departure, a journey from earth to heaven. Our children are still ours. We are still their parents. We are yet one family—one in memory, one in hope, one in spirit. Our children are yet with us, and dwell with us in our sweetest, fondest recollections. We too are yet with them in the bright anticipations of our reunion with them, in the glories of the upper sanctuary. We mingle together indeed no more in sorrow and in pain.
Blessed and glorious hope, and blessed and glorious gospel by which it is inspired! I have gloried in thee, but never as I do now. I have found thee precious, but never as precious as now. I have hoped in thy word, and stayed myself on thy promises, and exulted in thy immortal hopes, but never aught as now. When I stood a fond parent, surrounded by my little ones, growing up in their sweet loveliness around me, my future delight, my future helpmates and companions, I rejoiced in the sunshine which this heavenly gospel threw around me.
But when I stood bereft of these loved ones, when I saw them cold in the speechlessness of death—when I put them both together in their clayey bed, there to sleep the sleep that knows no waking—when my heart shuddered to think that there they would lie exposed to winter’s storms and the summer’s torrid heat, then did thy cheerful promise, span as with a bow of hope my dreary darkness, sustain my sinking heart, and enable me, even with death, and its horrid desolations before me, triumphantly to exclaim, “Oh death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory! Thanks be to God who giveth me the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
And here let me commend, especially to bereaved parents, this “balm for wounded spirits.” Clasp it, sorrowing mourner, to your bosom. Receive it into your inmost heart. Treasure it as your pearl of greatest price. Seek it as your first and greatest object of pursuit. Buy it at whatever cost. Sell it—no, not for worlds. Heaven is not only our home, our rest. It is now the home of our children. It is our common inheritance. Let it then be the prize of our high calling. Towards it let us press. To it let us continually ascend. For it let us diligently prepare, that when our earthly house of this tabernacle is taken down, we may have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.