The believer’s confidence in death.
Chad Bird on the loss of his son and the hope of the resurrection.
I can’t even fathom getting that kind of news. When I saw Chad Bird’s post on Facebook that his twenty-one-year-old son, Luke, had tragically passed away after a hiking accident, I shuddered. It was so agonizing, so shocking, and so unexpected. To be sure, death always comes as a surprise, even when we know its arrival is imminent. But reading of Luke’s passing and Chad’s gut-wrenching grief made me sink into my chair. The appalling abruptness devastated me. I couldn’t help but put myself in Chad’s shoes and imagine what it’d feel like to lose one of my own children. Cue another shuddering thought.
In ways that are difficult for me to fathom, Chad’s poured his grief into words — grief that’s suffused with the immeasurable hope of resurrection. In the article “The Day We Buried Our Son,” Chad pens what amounts to a eulogy for his son, Luke, throughout which he also taps into what is the believer’s indefatigable confidence, even in death. Chad writes:
Our Christian cemeteries are sacred fields in which we sow the bodies of our loved ones. The church is a farmer. We do not sow wheat or barley or corn; we plant bodies in the earth. And, like all farmers, we wait for the harvest. When it will come, we do not know. But come it shall — this year, next year, a thousand years hence. Who knows? The Lord of the harvest knows.
On that day, like champagne corks, gravestones will pop from the earth. The soil will split, coffins burst open. Luke’s grave will have reached its expiration date, as will all our graves, wherever they may be.
The trumpet will sound. Jesus will descend. And with upraised arms of victory, full-throated shouts of Hallelujah, and bodies radiant with the immortal life of the resurrected Jesus, we shall stand, an innumerable company of the redeemed.
Until that glorious day, we wait in faith, hope, and love. And as we do, limping down this dark and forlorn pathway of grief, we cling to the truth uttered by the mouth of the Lord in whom we believe, and with whom Luke now rests in peace: “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
Indeed, Jesus, yes, you are. Come quickly, O Lord, we are waiting.
God bless you, Chad. May the ceaseless presence of the Spirit imbue you with the inexhaustible grace of the Son. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num. 6:24–26).
Grace and peace.