Ask any parent of a child with special needs what his/her greatest fear is, and they will give you some variation of my own answer: “What will happen to John when I die?” And the disturbing questions snowball: “Who will take care of him?” “Who will love him like we do?” “Who will believe in him and give him opportunities if it isn’t even old age that takes us?”
Of course, all these fears are in “the flesh.” When I tap into my spiritual vision, the God-enabled eyes to see, I trust God is far from being finished with His healing work in John’s life (Philippians 1:6). I trust the original vision God gave me of John’s complete healing on earth (Mark 11:22-25). I trust Him to bind up our wounds, ease the striving, and give us life full of joy and peace (Psalm 34:18, John 15:11).
But in the flesh, in my human weakness and doubt, I lie awake at night with that haunting question and fear… What will happen to John when we die?
You may not have a child with special needs and thus your greatest fear may be different, but I imagine that the root issue of our fears is the same: the perceived need for control, grasping to the illusion of control, and fear of giving up control. In our minds, is death not the ultimate forced release of control? Yet we even try to influence and manipulate the circumstances after we die with funeral wishes expressed in advance, an obituary drafted, wills in place, the attic sorted. These things are not bad in and of themselves; in fact, they are usually quite helpful. However, we must assess our motivation and spiritual health in this.
Let’s take this struggle a step further. What is behind my panicked need for control and fear of losing it? Instead of easily falling asleep Monday night, I was wide awake contemplating this question after spending far too much time playing out the different scenarios in my head of what would happen to John (and Daniel) if Meade and I both died.
The illusion that I possess control while I am alive basically denies WHO actually and rightly is in control when I am both alive and dead. I change, I fall short, I grow, I die… yet God remains the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The same God who loves my children more than I ever could, even while I’m alive, will also be the same God by their side, loving them long after I am gone.
Do we trust that God is good? Do I really believe He loves me and loves what is most important to me? I have to remember that God is not the steward of these precious gifts. He is the origin of the gifts, their Creator… their times are in HIS hands, not mine. My children, the things and people that matter most to me, belong to Him; I am merely the steward.
I am grateful that my eventual death does not sway the God of the universe. He will remain on the Throne. He will continue to provide.
Lord, I pray I will release control and the desire to “fix” everything, anticipate everything, and manipulate life’s events in an effort to provide for everything myself. Instead, I pray I will lean into you, even when I don’t understand your ways, even when I doubt your goodness. Lord, give me the strength and enable me to trust you with the things I hold so tightly. Thank you that you are for my good.
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Oh Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”