Fixing Our Eyes

Hi Dear Prayer Warriors,

What a peace and hope we have felt today through our tears as we brought sweet Tage home with us this afternoon.  He has pneumonia due to aspiration and continues to battle to breathe.  With his disease, this will continue to be a problem now.  We are so thankful to have caring hospice nurses with us who are monitoring Tage and guiding us as we continue to walk this path with him which appears to be coming to an end…on this side of Heaven anyway.

In the hospital this morning, my dad reminded us of this verse which was such a comfort to us when my grandma died a few years ago and again when my mom died a few months after her:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

What hope!  What a helpful reminder of where we should be fixing our eyes right now.  We are sad, but we do not have to lose heart.

Our hearts are absolutely breaking.  There are no words.  Tears stain our faces as we watch our baby struggle to breathe and continue to decline.  Our bodies shake as we weep about what we won’t get to do with Tage as he grows up.  My entire body physically aches with the weight of grief.

But we are so grateful for him, that God has given us Tage Thomas as a gift, the greatest gift we have ever received.

Josh and I have said to each other that even knowing what the intersection of our lives with his would mean, we would still take him. We would still want him. He is ours.  We love him more than we ever thought possible — the same way God loves us.

As much as it crushes us to know that our time with him is probably almost done, the verse above reminds us that we do not need to despair.  Through our tears, we can remember that death is not the end for those who know Jesus Christ.  Jesus loves children.  He has a special place in His heart for them, and we know we will see Tage again.  Just like we will see my grandma and mom again.

I used to be skeptical about all the books out there about kids returning after a visit to Heaven.  I was sure they must be fake, but in my sorrow, I’ve given a couple of them a try.

In Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo, he tells the story of how his little boy went to heaven and came back, just two months shy of his fourth birthday. He was only gone for three minutes of earthly time, but spent what must have felt like an eternity, seeing and describing things that there would have been no way of him knowing otherwise. Things foretold in the Bible and yet not completely accessible to a child so young. One of the things that encouraged me most was how he talked about Jesus. “He really really loves kids, Dad!” he kept telling him. As if that was the most significant part of his journey that he wanted to convey.

Todd, a pastor, talked about how he had taken his six-year-old son (two years after his visit to heaven) to visit a dying man in a nursing home. Unannounced, Colton took the hand of the man as he drifted in and out of consciousness and said, “It’s going to be okay. The first person you’ll see when you get there is Jesus.”
It was certainly the most comforting thing for this mommy to have read.  As much as I love Tage and want to care for him, Jesus loves him more, and whenever Tage meets Him,  He will take care of Tage even better than I can.

That doesn’t stop me from crying, but it helps.  And I find my heart saying, “Yes!  I want to see Jesus!”

No matter what happens here on earth, Heaven is the guarantee that our life extends beyond this one.  And there no one is sick or old or sad or lonely.  I’m so glad that, possibly sooner than I would like, our son will get to see Jesus face to face.  He’ll sit on his lap and smile up at Jesus.  Tage will smile.  He won’t be fearful, or missing us, or scared.  Our God loves children, and He is constantly encouraging us to be like them!

I still cannot tell you how much we don’t want this to be our story.  I’ve cussed more in the past month than I have in my whole life combined.  But strong pain is cause for strong words.  We still don’t understand, but as Josh so boldly prayed this morning, we will still not turn our backs on the Lord.  He knows.  He sees.  We trust.

Quite honestly, I can’t say that I will stop pleading for Tage’s life here.  I can’t let go until the very end, when Jesus asks us to place Tage in His arms, as He tells us, “I’ve got this.”  And we will let Jesus take it from here.  Until we see them again.  Death is not the worst thing.

Having God inside and around you changes everything.  Absolutely everything.

So we fix our eyes….

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