Because of social media, word traveled fast about my son Caleb. My wife made a plea early on Facebook for prayer and in brief postings explained the grave situation we were facing. I was still very numb at the hospital and perhaps in shock. God had just told me, “NO” and reality was setting in and I almost felt bad that I was not showing any emotion as everyone around me seemed to fall apart. As we made our way home, I was faced with a house full of people including the state police who wanted my security camera footage. I can’t say I was ready to see everyone and though the support was appreciated, I needed to be alone. To face God. I remember pacing around the house not being able to stand still. There was no escaping myself. No off switch for the pain and anger that was building. I can say I was fit to be tied on the inside but on the outside completely emotionless.
As the people left later that evening, as a family we slept in the living room. All of the kids brought their blankets and pillows as we wanted to be close. We did this for perhaps the first week. The problem for me was I was not able to sleep. Slowly the kids fell asleep and in the wee hours of the morning Tiffany finally drifted off I believe somewhere in the 4 am hour. My issue was flashbacks. Every time I would begin to fall asleep, I would startle back awake trying to save Caleb all over again and expecting a different result that would not come. Honestly, as the evening went on, my anger towards God was increasing. Not understanding why or how this could happen. I was trying my hardest to make sense of something that did not make any sense. Completely alone, because in those moments I was rejecting God. I did not want to be with him. Was it blame? I continued to toss and turn. Moving from the living room to the bedroom. Peace was not to be found. Only anger, rage, pain and fury to name a few.
By the 6 am hour, something switched. I found myself on my knees at my bed side. I turned on some worship music on my phone and began to pray and the floodgates of emotion began to erupt. The sorrow, the sobbing and crying out, “NO Lord, NO. Please Lord NO.” Emotions were racing and the pain was so intense. I started to scream into the comforter on my bed while crushing the fabric in my clenched fists. My release started to wake my family. My daughter Alexis was the first to check on me as she approached and put her arm around me but I was at that point inconsolable. She left as Tiffany came in. The anger and rage erupted I believe at both God and Satan. There was some very foul language (sorry Tiffany) directed at Satan and I recall smashing my arms down on the bed, pounding it while sobbing uncontrollably.
I fell to my face in the most submissive position possible toward God and cried out for mercy over and over. “Mercy Lord!, mercy Lord!, mercy!” Over and over again as I was crying for mercy from the pain and anguish. I recall declaring that Satan had no control over me and he would not tear my family apart and I said aloud, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).” Eventually, I calmed down. I moved to the living room to rejoin my family but sleep would still evade me. I was however looking to God for answers. A lot of my anger had subsided but still ultimately not sure which end was up. A few hours would pass before I was contacted by the funeral home to pick out a life verse for Caleb’s service program. Life goes on right? I texted our youth pastor Justin Reese and asked if he could think of any verses and asked him to ask the other pastors if they could think of one. Meanwhile, I sat down in the kitchen and began with Google to start my own search.
I started with search terms like, “losing a child bible verses” or something like that and found a few great sites. It was soon after that I settled on this life verse for Caleb with emphasis on the last sentence:
Psalm 139:13-16 New International Version (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
As I found comfort in this verse, I was hungry for more. I continued to follow links and eagerly consumed more verses when I found the most profound site that would finally give me understanding and it was centered on God’s zeal for His own glory and here it is:
The author John Piper (sorry, I have no idea who he is) goes on to write:
“Probably no text in the Bible reveals the passion of God for his own glory more clearly and bluntly as Isaiah 48:9-11 where God says,
For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
I have found that for many people these words come like six hammer blows to a man-centered way of looking at the world“
As I continued to study the other references listed on that page it became exceedingly clear that EVERYTHING is for God’s glory. It is my opinion that ultimately, even the bad things that happen on this earth are ultimately for God’s glory. He is the one who created absolutely everything and everything is for his Glory. This is not to say we are puppets and our every move was predestined and that we don’t have free will. Yes, God being omniscient has foreknowledge of every event that happens but in the end, IT IS ALL FOR HIS GLORY!!!! It is not about me. It never was. Everything is for his Glory. Caleb was for His glory, the people affected by Caleb was for God’s glory, my response as a result of losing Caleb is for His glory. The layout of Caleb’s service was for God’s glory. Me saying at the end of Caleb’s service, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” was for God’s glory. All that I am and every will be IS FOR GOD’s GLORY! Praise be to God the Great I AM. I surrender all and it is all for His glory.
Are you with me?
Author: Andrew Dubas