Have you lost a child? Whether son or daughter, infant or of riper years, it is much the same — in any case, a portion of yourself is gone. How sharp the visitation! How short its work! The grave has opened and has closed again; yet closed it not before it received its tenant — until in its yawning space you had committed “dust to dust, ashes to ashes, earth to earth.” How shrank your soul within you, as you heard those moving words, that grating sound upon the casket! And as you hastened home, enrapt in your tenderness, the thoughts of other children left to you (if indeed you have them), healed not the smart, nor seemed to make amends for your lost treasure. Oh, what a fearful wrench it must have been, to tear that branch from out its parent stem, never to grow and flourish there again! Oceans of tears shed over that silent grave would not avail to bring your loved one back to you. Long might you kneel on that cold ground, and yet, nor verdant sod, nor marble tomb, nor modest headstone, could listen to your sobbing tale.
Think not, my friend, I blame you for your tears; neither does God reprove you. He knows that you must feel the wound inflicted on your sorrowing heart. He knows your frame, remembers you are dust (Psalm 103:14), and bids you seek Him in your tears, inviting you to tell your sorrows freely into His waiting ear. Believe me, this is the only remedy. Must the grave be visited unceasingly, and sorrow nursed until it becomes a morbid ailment a wound unsoftened with ointment, a standing sore; and all, because you sorrow to yourself, and not to Jesus?
Poor mourner, no! This is not the path to consolation, nor yet to rightly exercised distress. Do you ask, “What would you have me do?” See Love in it my friend! Is it not written, “God Is Love?” (1 John 4:8, 16). It was God who did it! It was God who took your child. Shall we say that God is love, in all but this? Have we found an end to His perfections — a limit to His love? Are there, then, exceptions to His perfect rule? No, God is love. Has He required of you what He Himself was not prepared to do? Has He not set you the example? Did God withhold His Son, His Only Son, for you and your salvation? Then say, could you withhold your child, when thus it pleased Him to ask you for what He only lent you for a season?
If you have grace, my friend, the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you only have to reason with yourself, to say “Amen” to God’s appointment. Your heart will bleed — it must, it will. Shall a blow be dealt, and the frame not stagger at it? Yet faith will rise above it, and while you weep, the rainbow tints of resignation will cast prismatic glories on your tears. Visit not the tomb for mournful musings. If you can do it in joyful expectation of the coming day — the day of days — the resurrection morn, when earth shall render up the righteous dead to meet their Lord, then you may go with profit to the tomb — not otherwise. Take heed, then, what you do.
But if this way be foreign to your mind, and you can only weep as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13) — if you cannot go to Jesus in your tears, nor take Him with you to the tomb — you need to be enlightened by the Spirit, not only for healthful mourning, but for eternal life.