Saturday, December 15, 2012

Letter to Lilia

Dear Peanut,

There's a song by Keith Green to his son, and in it he sings, "Well if I could I would protect you from what you will see.  This world promised love and beauty, but it lied to me."  That is how I feel tonight.  I want to protect you, shield you, spare you (if I could) from the evil you will see in this broken, fallen world.  I want to keep you safe from it, like a mother bird fiercely guarding her nest from predators. 

Today, as I read the horrible news of precious little ones, not much older than you, whose lives were violently ended by evil, you were playing lightheartedly near me.  I asked you to come sit on my lap, just so I could hold you and have you near, smell your hair and feel your little hands on my arms.  And then I cried for nearly a solid half hour.  You comforted me by bringing me your "beebee."  How precious is your little life to me, Lilia.

I'm not really sure how to trust God with your future, how to let Him have the reigns.  How do I wake up each day and relinquish your care to His hands, when I love you so fiercely?  How could I endure the kind of anguish that so many parents are feeling tonight over the loss of their precious children? Oh Lilia, how could I endure that pain?  It would utterly break me. 

But Keith Green also sings in the same song, "Oh what a strong Shepherd holds you in His arms,"  and I remember this painting I have of Jesus holding a little lamb in His strong, wide arms.  So tender, yet so strong.  He loves that little lamb, and He is such a strong Shepherd, so much stronger than your feeble mommy and daddy, love you though we do.  We cannot protect you, not really.  Not ultimately.  Only God can do that.

The really hard part for me to swallow, Lilia, is that God doesn't promise me that He will always keep you safe from evil or from the danger of life.  I want Him to promise me that as I pray and beg Him to spare you... but He does not.  All creation groans under the weight of sin, all suffer. 

This is what He does promise:  To be the strong Shepherd holding you in His arms, whatever wolves assail and cliffs draw near.  It means that there will be danger, of some form or another, present.  But the Shepherd will be present, too, and He can hold you so much more strongly and gently than I ever could, whether here or in eternity.

I will do whatever is in my weak, frail, death-bound power to protect you, Peanut.  By the grace God has given, I will do it.  But ultimately, I must leave you to His care, knowing He loves you even more than I do.  And I will also pray:

"The Lord bless you and keep you, Lilia.  The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, Lilia, and give you peace.... May the Lord bless you with long life, little Peanut, and show you His salvation."

I love you,

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