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23 December 2016

Harper

On the morning of Monday, December 12, I woke up early and sat quietly and read and wrote and prayed in my usual morning routine. I drank my coffee and showered and dressed and made our lunch. We drove down the highway at sunrise and got stopped in traffic and crossed the border and rolled into the neighborhood late. I rushed to the school and greeted my third-graders and started a lesson on the names of parts of the body.

And then time seemed to stop.
While all that ordinary was happening, on the coast of Carolina, nothing was ordinary at all.
We soon learned that while everyday life was carrying on, our Harper, our 7 year old grandson, died.

The days since have been hard, more hard than we ever imagined that they could be. We are grateful for the prayers, for the words of encouragement and sympathy, for the support so many have shown our family over the last week, more than we will ever be able to say well. We are grateful that many of you will continue in prayer for us, as it is our strength.

On that Monday morning, I was wearing a bracelet that says, "But if not, He is still good." It is a reference to Daniel 3, to the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who upon being told they would be thrown into the fiery furnace for not worshipping the Nebuchadnezzer, continued to show and speak of their unyielding trust in their God. We too continue to trust our God and His sovereignty, even today.

I wrote the following words for me and Tim for Harper's memorial service last week...

Harper is our first grandson- he is the one who made us Poppy and Gumbo.
Kristy was privileged to be with Ashley and Tom and Harper at the very start of his life, when he was a pretty content little guy who only wanted to eat and sleep.
Those of you who are grandparents know the absolute joy and peace that comes from sitting and holding your newborn grand. It is an experience like none other. You have all of the confidence of having walked this road before and you can perhaps see ahead differently than new parents are able to. Kristy will always be grateful for that time with Harper.

Harper is all light and love in our lives. His beautiful blue eyes and his very sweet spirit penetrate deep when he looks at us. We love Harper unconditionally, which is good because all of you know that like any normal kid, he could be a little imp occasionally. Just this spring, Harper and Corbin were the ring bearers in their aunt’s wedding. Harper decided to dash and hide moments before the wedding was to begin and we pulled him out of his hidey-hole; we kept a death grip on him as we walked into the wedding ceremony. And then the boys carried out their job with all the adorable charm that you can imagine they would have.

Like all of you, our family is struggling mightily to make sense of this. Honestly, we can’t. As Corbin told us last night, “it’s not okay.” In this very terrible situation, we are trusting our God because we believe His word is true and we know from all of Scripture and from all of our experience that He loves us.  

This month, our family has been reading an Advent devotional that reminds us of Jesus’ roles as prophet, priest and king. Early this week, we were reminded that Jesus is our Priest today- the author wrote,
"But Jesus is not finished. His work on the cross is finished—it is perfect and complete (John 19:30). But His work as our Great High Priest continues. Jesus was the perfect Priest who became the spotless sacrifice, but His priesthood is ongoing. Christ died to save us, and now He lives to intercede for us before the Father (Hebrews 7:25).
Our Savior, who took on our sin and granted us His righteousness, is the One who sits at the Father’s right hand, claiming as His own those He died to save (1 John 4:10). He shepherds us even now, fulfilling the promise that none of His children will be snatched out of His hand (John 10:29). He knows our weakness, as He Himself experienced humanity in its fullness but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). And just as He saved us “once for all” by His death on the cross (Hebrews 9:12), He saves us still, granting grace and mercy as our advocate before God and our admittance into God’s presence (1 John 2:2). "

And this morning, we were again reminded that Jesus is our King today- the author wrote, 
"Christ is our King today. Not because we decide He is, but because God Himself gave Him this authority. 
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
He is our King whether we bow to Him or not. He is the King of the leaders of the countries of the world, whether they believe it or not. He is the King of our children and our friends and enemies, whether they receive Him or not. 
This is good news! Not only does our King rule over everyone and everythingHe is also a righteous and merciful judge. And He comes to make His blessings flow. Yes, He is a good King.

We are thankful that we can trust Harper to this Good King, the very Good Father. We hope that you can trust our Jesus too. 
We love you, Harper.

2 comments:

Nita Luna said...

What a beautiful picture! I know I can't say anything to ease your pain, but know I'm praying for you and your family.

Ruth Peterson said...

I have been thinking so much of you and your family this last week. Praying for you all and love you.