I sat next to his bed as he lay dying - for three days he had been lost to us; no sound, no movement. Only the knowledge that he could both hear us and feel pain - the massive brain infection had cut off his ability to communicate with us but had allowed him to continue to suffer.
His friends and our family had come and gone - saying their good-byes with the knowledge that David knew they were there. My beautiful only son, my firstborn, my answer to prayer after losing three children in pregnancy. It had been such a hard two year struggle against this awful cancer. So young - he was only a month shy of turning 19. I named him David, which means Beloved of God, as I dedicated him to God during my pregnancy in thankfulness for God answering my prayers. That morning the doctor had told us he could last another two weeks or more in this condition. It cut into my heart as I knew that this had been his worst fear come true.
His father, stepfather and I mourned that this could go on and we agreed in prayer asking Jesus to take our son that day. It happened to be Sunday so it seemed appropriate to ask God to give our son rest on the day He designated for resting in Him. Before I went to sleep that night at his bedside, I spoke with David and told him I loved him. I asked him to go with Jesus when He came for him and not to struggle and try to stay with me. I told him it would only be a short time before we were together again in heaven.
I asked his father and my husband to try to stay awake as I felt that God would honor our prayers but none of us could stay awake. By 10pm, we had all fallen asleep.
I woke in the night - somehow in my sleep, I had shifted halfway onto David's bed. When I awoke, I was lying near him with my hands and arms upon his shoulder and arm.
I began counting the seconds between each of his breaths - one, two, three... One, two, three...on and on for at least five minutes. He was warm, another sign that he was doing well enough to last for weeks. The doctor had told us that a day or so before he passed away he would turn progressively colder as his circulation began to fail. I was continuing to count in my head: one, two, three... One, two, three... one, two, three, four, five... Back to three, up to seven.
Suddenly, his nurse walked in. I turned to her and said that I thought it was time, that Jesus was coming for David. She used her flashlight to look at him and agreed. She woke up his father while I woke up my husband.
For five minutes, we were able to hold David, love him, say good-bye and remind him that Jesus was waiting for him with open arms. His passing was so peaceful and the presence of God was like a warm covering surrounding us. The moment David stopped breathing, I thanked God for His faithfulness.
We gave glory to God for a time before turning aside. When I looked up at the clock, fully expecting that it was close to dawn, I realized that it was still Sunday, around five minutes to midnight. God had answered our prayer and took David home on His day. In His mercy and love, he had awakened us so we could be part of that time with David and to see that the peace of God in his passing.
In the last few months of David's life, God changed my prayer for my son. Up until then, I had prayed that God would heal my son. One day, when it looked as if David was on his way to recovery, my prayer changed. I was upset because it seemed that I could no longer pray for David's recovery but instead, my prayer changed to asking God to use David to bring glory to Jesus Christ. In my frail human understanding, I thought that meant that David would recover and become a minister or something similar. In the time since David's death, I have come to understand why God changed my prayer - He wanted me to pray for the right things rather than for the things that I wanted. Once my prayer changed, God was faithful to answer it - He is using David's story to touch individuals and bring them home to Him. I'm so thankful that God is able to use our experiences in this way.
When I think back to the time of my son's passing, while I have so much sorrow in missing my child, I am also filled with love and thankfulness that my Lord and Savior heard and answered our prayers. I thank Him continually for His gift of salvation and eternal life.
In the years since David's death, I have come to a new understanding of God's love. While my son was ill and when he passed away, I would have given anything to have been able to change places with him. It tore my heart apart to watch him wither away slowly and finally die. I now realize that this is exactly how God felt about his children once they chose sin over obedience. We were doomed to die and this was a source of unbelievable grief to our Creator. Unlike me, who could not switch places with my son, God could and would do so to save us. He chose his only-begotten son to come to this earth to provide us with an escape from the consequences of our own sins. He loved us so much that he sacrificed the most precious one of all to unbelievable pain and death so that all of his children would have the choice of eternal life over death.
I know my family will be together again in the not too distant future. The only thing which burdens me is that there are some people who may not be with us. My desire is that of the Lord's, that all should be saved.
If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please think again. I so want my extended family to be with us forever.
Along with the gift of eternal life, inner peace is a gift to all those who accept Jesus. Everything in the universe is held in the span of His hand. He knows how many hairs we have on our head. I know He will see me through whatever trial is put in front of me. If you would like to have this gift of salvation, peace, and eternal life, it is yours for the asking. All you have to do is accept it. Please accept it; I want to know that you will be in heaven with me. Just say this prayer out loud and believe it in your heart: Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and can never do anything on my own to remove my sin. I believe that You are the son of God. I believe that You came to earth as a man, lived a perfect life and died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sin. I believe that You rose again on the third day. I ask You to come into my heart and live within me, to wash away my sin, to make me perfect in the eyes of God so that I can live with You eternally. I thank you for answering my prayer. If you just prayed this prayer, please email me to let me know. The Bible says that you must believe in your heart and confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ. I would so enjoy hearing that you have joined my family!
JAS 1:20 for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.