On Mother’s Day Evening 2013, Jonathan Campbell Hamilton, son of Ron and Shelly Hamilton, was taken to Heaven at the age of thirty-four after a long struggle with mental illness. I have heard Mr. Hamilton sing Rejoice in the Lord countless times over many years but never knew until recently about the loss of his son. Watching him sing it on the after side of child loss, particularly when Shelly accompanies him on the piano, is especially (and tearfully) encouraging .
Shelly Hamilton wrote a lovely tribute to her son here:
Jonathan Campbell Hamilton January 18, 1979 – May 12, 2013
Here friends and family members share honestly about Jonathan’s life, illness and suicide. It is long but well worth the time: Memorial Service for Jonathan Hamilton
Purchase Shelly’s book, Always, Only Good: A Journey of Faith Through Mental Illness
I am very thankful for another song of theirs that the Lord used in my life when our children were young. Cherish the Moment got me teary-eyed even before Hans left us. Now that he is gone from us, this song is that much nearer to my heart. I so treasure all those cherished moments.
Slow down and just be together…
…you do not know how long you will have them near.
Rejoice in the Lord.
Cherish the Moments.
“Observe, I entreat you, how calamitous a circumstance is here supposed, and how heroic a faith is expressed. It is really as if he said, ‘Though I should be reduced to so great extremity as not to know where to find my necessary food, though I should look around about me on an empty house and a desolate field, and see the marks of the Divine scourge where I had once seen the fruits of God’s bounty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.’ Methinks these words are worthy of being written as with a diamond on a rock forever. Oh, that by Divine grace they might be deeply engraven on each of our hearts! Concise as the form of speaking in the text is, it evidently implies or expresses the following particulars: That in the day of his distress he would fly to God; that he would maintain a holy composure of spirit under this dark dispensation, nay, that in the midst of all he would indulge in a sacred joy in God, and a cheerful expectation from Him. Heroic confidence! Illustrious faith! Unconquerable love!” –Doddridge
Last night I heard a robin singing in the rain,
And the raindrop’s patter made a sweet refrain,
Making all the sweeter the music of the strain.
So, I thought, when trouble comes, as trouble will,
Why should I stop singing? Just beyond the hill
It may be that sunshine floods the green world still.
He who faces the trouble with a heart of cheer
Makes the burden lighter. If there falls a tear,
Sweeter is the cadence in the song we hear.
I have learned your lesson, bird with dappled wing,
Listening to your music with its lilt of spring
When the storm-cloud darkens, then’s the TIME to sing.
–Eben E. Rexford
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.