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As many of you know and have walked beside us through these last few months, it would seem that this year has been a year of loss for Ves and I. We lost Ves's Dad, we lost our house, we lost our dreams of teaching and living in West Virginia, we lost our money, and ultimately we lost our son, Josiah.
While it has often seemed that everything that possibly could go wrong, has gone wrong, we have learned to see this year, not as a year of loss, but as a year of learning to hold things loosely, of learning to hold all that we own and love with an open hand out to God. We have learned that ultimately nothing that we have (our belongings, dreams, and even our children) belong to us, nor do we deserve these gifts. God graciously gives them, but sometimes in the wisdom of His purposes, He chooses to take them away. What can we say besides, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord."
When we first found out that we were expecting twins, one of the first people that we called to tell were the Keisers. After the usual congratulations, I remember Jeff making the comment that we "had created two eternal beings that would never cease to exist." While I immediately felt the weight of that statement and the responsibility that we as parents had to raise up these two souls for the glory of God, I didn't realize how fitting and comforting this statement would be in the coming months.
A few months later when we found out that we would most likely lose Josiah, and in the days that followed, there were many things that went through my mind. There were many tears, many conversations had with God, and much pleading for Josiah's life.
On thing that I have learned through trials is that they test your faith, but often not in the way that you would think. As people prayed for us and encourage us after finding out about Josiah, many well meaning people would say things like, "I just know God will heal Josiah! There are so many people praying for you guys," or "Keep on praying, God will heal him!" While I appreciated the sentiment and understood where they were coming from, it always rubbed me the wrong way. What if God chose not to heal Him?
You see, when we go through hard times and we are faced with the unimaginable, we tend to put God in a box. We tend to think that we know what is best and what God should do in a given situation. We try to help God out by reminding Him and even commanding Him to do what is obviously the right thing to do in our eyes. But the thing is that God's ways are not our ways and God, in His wisdom, chose to take our son. Where does that leave us? Does that mean God made a mistake, or isn't good, or somehow acted foolishly? No, it means that sometimes the greatest act of faith is to trust in God's goodness and plan even when it makes absolutely no sense in our circumstances.
You see, Josiah's life went exactly like it was supposed to. It wasn't too short, as it is easy to think. The meaning of all our lives is to bring glory to God and to bless His name. In Josiah's short 6 months and 6 hours of life, God did exactly that. God's purpose for his life was fulfilled exactly as God had planned and God was glorified not only in his seemingly short life, but also in his death.
While we may not ever know why God chose for Josiah's life to play out the way it did, we can rest in the fact that Josiah's life wasn't cut short, and the number of his days were ordained by God. We can also find joy in the fact that we know that Josiah is now whole and completely healed in the presence of our savior, which is better by far.
While we will always carry with us regrets (regrets of not memorizing his face better, or taking more pictures, or remembering what it felt like to hold him in our arms) and struggle with the "what could have beens" of birthdays, milestones, and the day to day life with a twinless twin, we hold fast to the hope that his life was meaningful and that we will see him and hold him again.
We are thankful for the way Josiah blessed our life, for the way that through his death God strengthened and upheld us, and for the ways that God used Josiah's life to bless other people and continues to do so.
--Josiah's mom, September, 2019
Reprinted by permission
Reprinted by permission