Today I caught myself looking at my son’s Instagram account and all the wonderful things he had posted just a few months before he left for heaven. It made me miss him so.

“I don’t want to spend my life missing.” I said to my husband, Todd.

This is a missing life. It just hurts to live life missing my son. Why did God choose us to lose a son?

Whenever I find myself in this place I quickly have to run to the testimony of scripture. I have to look at what God has asked of the saints that have gone before me to realize I am not alone.

The apostle Paul is one such person I go to for evidence about suffering. One day I thought about the fact that he had a mom! Scripture says nothing about her but we know he had one at some point. It made me wonder if she had to watch his suffering the way I watched Tristan’s.

I wonder if she was so proud of the work her boy Saul had accomplished, training hard to be a Pharisee of Pharisees. The top of his class!

I wonder if she was surprised to find him coming home from his blood mission to bind up these Christians and throw them in jail–

“Your son is back speaking in the temple.” perhaps a neighbor would say. But that would be nothing unusual. “He’s using the scriptures to prove that Jesus is the Son of God.”

I imagine her jaw would drop as she envisioned what would become of her now. She’d be put out of the synagogue for sure, shunned by her whole community. Her precious son, the one who had risen to such heights following the law to perfection, now rejecting everything and agreeing with the other side??? Ruined!  Ruined!  Her life would be ruined.

Perhaps her son would come home to explain himself and repeat what God had said about him…

God said  …” he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.”

Perhaps Saul’s mom would think that didn’t sound too bad now, being chosen by God to speak before kings. But then Saul would finish the command…

 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 

This was not what she had signed up for. Watching her son choose to follow Jesus and then suffering for His name’s sake? What kind of ridiculous plan was that?

The kind that could get you beheaded. But before that Paul’s way was paved with:

24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;”

This is too hard for a mom to witness, isn’t it? Would God really ask that of anybody?

Paul did speak before kings. Now he is speaking before the King of kings. God used him to pen 13 books of our bible and millions of people have been brought to salvation through the Holy Spirit’s use of those scriptures.

When God brings suffering into your path you never know how He is going to use it.

Most of us won’t be asked to undergo what Paul went through or to witness our children going through such things. But the child-loss we are facing takes over and seems to feel just as bad.

The missing I am facing with Tristan is not something God has not asked of His saints before. I can be sure of one thing: like Paul, God had a perfect plan for Tristan that involved suffering. I will have to wait until I get to heaven to find out all the reasons why. For right now, my job is to trust the Who.

 Dear Lord, I miss my Tristy-one so much. I can’t wait to see him in heaven. The loss of him feels like it has hijacked our would-have-been life, not like it was the life purposed from You all along. Keep me from imagining a life that never existed if Tristan was still alive because that was never Your plan. Only You can bind up these wounds and save me from all of the if-only’s. Thank you for giving me your scripture so I can see what You’ve asked of others that have gone before me. I am not alone. You didn’t forsake them, and You won’t forsake me. Save me from myself.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.