There are “holes” in our family, something that a general observer would not see right away. It takes an extra moment to realize that all of the baby pictures on our wall are not only of our daughter. There needs to be a closer look taken, to notice the golden image of a kneeling boy that is nestled in amongst the lights and the garland on our Christmas tree each year. This year, we have the bittersweet experience of buying another special ornament, this time for our little Ezra.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” --Matthew 18: 12-14
If there is anything that this experience has taught me, it is the poignant cry of the empty room. In our little fold, there is a small bleating that is missing. There is still a bedroom that sits vacant, almost as though it has been holding it’s breath, waiting for the joyful arrival of it’s occupant. This sighing is probably the simple echo of our own hearts, as we try to digest the reality of no longer having Ezra here.
I am sure that people mean well when they say, “at least you have your daughter”, but they simply do not understand. I love my little girl so much, so very much. Yet, she is her own person, and can never fill the hole in my heart, where I mourn our baby. Finally, I began to understand the importance of Matthew 18:12-14, to truly see how much that God longs after every lost sheep. While the child within my home is precious to me, my heart weeps over the absence of the little lamb that I cannot hold. In our house, there is an empty room. I wonder if our heavenly Father doesn’t feel much the same way about His own great house.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. –John 14:2Again and again, my mind runs back to the parable of the prodigal son. Knowing how much I long after my children, it brings the story so much life. I can see how a man of stature could throw aside all pride, not caring about how he looks to the world, running down the road to take his son in his arms. Now I understand more about the importance and the haste in sharing the gospel. For as much as I long to spend eternity in heaven, and to have my children there beside me… how much more so much God, who designed and created every facet of our beings? While flipping through the tv channels, I came across the movie, “Ray”. In one scene, Ray is a young boy who is outside playing with his little brother, George. In a terrible accident, George falls into a wash tub and drowns while Ray watches, too stunned to move. As their mother rocks and cries over her dead son, she looks up and asks Ray, “Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you call me?” Why didn’t you do something. One child stands and watches another lose their life, and is too overcome by fear to move. It’s tragic and terrible, and yet I know that it is happening every day. I have been that child, standing and watching. I know that many of my other brothers and sisters have done the same thing, paralyzed by the fear of what other people will think of us. Now, having an empty room myself, my own heart grieves for what our Father must feel to see us stand by the side, and not do anything to help His children who are drowning. No wonder why He calls us again and again to speak His Word, and to be His hands out in this world. We are surrounded by dying children.