As we continue examining some of the “Heroes of the Faith” that I’ve come across either historically or personally, this week I want to focus on some long standing friends of ours, who are among those who would definitely qualify.

A few weeks ago, their baby died.   He was actually almost forty, but because of a freak event where his mother revived him from SIDS and some pretty random genetic stuff (less than 25 known cases worldwide) he ‘grew up’ functioning at the level of a 6 month old.

The reason we knew this family was because for many years we worked together with them on and off as missionaries to the Japanese.  Daniel, as well as their other two kids were a part of our lives and we have some great memories together. These always included Daniel, usually smiling and cooing from his backpack or stroller.

You cannot say Daniel was not an individual, with likes and dislikes, opinions and personality. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can remember the joys of having babies around. But part of the joy is in knowing that those adorable kids will move on and grow into toddlers, teenagers and adults. Daniel, tragically, never moved on.

The heroes I mention today are the parents as well as Daniel’s brother and sister who each made their own sacrifices.   At one point in time, Mom told me that not a day passed when she didn’t cry.  But she laughed as well.  She loved her family, she loved us and the Japanese with whom they worked. She loved God, and still does, even though the road has been tough and often very difficult at times to understand.

Daniel’s dad even today looks like a teenager, always enthusiastic and ready for the challenge. I remember marveling when I’d see this couple from a distance. You’d never know that they had a care in the world. Together they’ve made a real difference in everyone they touched.

When our own son went from healthy to dying rather suddenly at 16, Daniel was about 12 and, as least in our minds, more than ‘ready to go’. His mom and I cried together about our inability to understand God’s timing.  We both agreed that we’ll never know God’s mind……. but then, that’s why He’s God.

As I sat bereaved after Trevor died, I tried to feel sorry for myself, (and I confess that I did).  But I kept thinking of all the unsung mothers out there who had “lost” their babies, but not to death.  Those precious children somehow slipped off the rails and became a source of grief that never seemed to get any better. I felt so sorry for those families, whose burden was made all the more horrible because it seemed that no one came by to see if they were all right, or how they now felt about God and his Sovereign will. These are the real ‘left behinds’ in a grieving world.  My heart went out to them then, and still does now.

Daniel’s in Heaven now with a perfect body. We firmly believe that, even though it sounds like a trivial ‘pat answer’ to help a grieving family.  But that’s the “Hope of Heaven”, after all, and made all the more wonderful because it’s true.

Real Heroes do it tough, even when people don’t even seem to know or understand. Maybe that’s what makes them heroes, at least in my mind.  I want to thank God that I have these people in my life.

Please pray for this family as they adjust to their ’new normal’.


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