I used to read the Bible and think about what happened to the bible-people and the lesson God wanted me to learn. After Tristan died I started reading it and thinking of the bible-people as REAL people like me and you, especially in terms of real moms and dads.

Cain and Abel had a mom.

Imagine being Eve. You’ve been driven from Eden and life is much harder but you and your husband have made a place for yourselves. You’re feeling blessed because so far God has given you two children each with their own gifts, a shepherd, and a gardener. Perhaps you are wondering about this thing the Lord referred to as “death”. You’ve seen it in the animals slain as offerings and the skins used as clothing but God said, “YOU shall surely die.” So far, so good. It has not touched you.

Then a shadow darkens your door and you turn to find your first-born standing there with blood-soaked arms and a look on his face you’ve never seen before. Without a word you fly past him into the field because you know, you just know, and there lies Abel. You gather his lifeless body into your arms and the reality comes crashing down — this is the world you were banished to, this is what God meant by “die”.  Abel is just gone. Soon Cain is driven away as a fugitive and you will live with the reality that one son you loved killed the beloved other.  Grief and mourning are the fog you live in,  and forever you will battle with Satan whispering in your ear, “This is because of what you did.”

Real moms. Real dads. Real anniversaries of when they learned how to bury and stood over the first grave. Real loss. Real forever gone.


Then God.

Abel is not forever gone because he is mentioned in a curious statement in the great hall of faith in Hebrews —

“By faith, Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was attested to be righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.” Heb 11:4

Though he is dead he still speaks? Could it be that though Tristan is dead he still speaks? Could it be that his death was part of a bigger plan used by an all-wise, all-good, sovereign God? A plan I might never know the purpose of until I stand before His throne?

All Abel did was obey and die, but he still speaks. If God uses all to His glory and took Tristan home for His purpose then Tristan still speaks. God is still using Tristan.  I can see the evidence all around me as people share how his life and death impacted them.
Let me be like Eve. Her children gone, knowing she was the first domino in a horrible cataclysmic event that plunged the whole human race into mourning and grief, and yet looking up to her Lord. Because after Cain and Abel came Seth. And after Seth, eventually came Jesus, the True Redeemer and end of all our stories. And isn’t that really just the beginning?
“Dear Lord, many mornings the first thing you hear from me is ‘I don’t want to wake up into a world where my son took his life.’ But then I remember, Tristan is with You, the One who made him. You gifted him to me for the time You designed.  And if you didn’t take me home too, You want me here.  I can’t wait for heaven! It is my true home now. Help me to love and serve well for as long as you have me on this earth.  Save me from myself.  Amen”