'Few things must rival the sorrow of a family that buries a child'. So begins James W Bruce in this book that has grown out of the spiritual journey of his family who suffered the loss of a son after 55 days. This is a family who looked to others who had also lost children for the sympathy of a shared experience. Their journey took them to the writings of many well known men and women of faith from times past, when death in childhood was much more common than now. And so this book is really an anthology of such writings. We read Robert Dabney's letters after the deaths of 2 sons within 2 weeks of each other, Calvin's hymn after he lost his only son born prematurely and Matthew Henry's journal following the deaths of 3 of his 9 children when he was able to say 'I am in deaths often; Lord, teach me how to die daily'. Bunyan, Whitefield, Edwards, Rutherford and many more all suffered the loss of children. Their writings recorded here along with insights by Bruce are very poignant and powerful. I'm sure this 'book of comfort for grieving parents' (as subtitled) will be just that.
Interestingly, a few weeks before 'From Grief to Glory' arrived in stock, I read another newly published book called 'Under the Rainbow'. This is an incredible testimony of a mother who lost 2 severely disabled children at the ages of 10 and 12 years. Her honesty regarding the shock of having not 1 but 2 disabled children, the practicalities of daily family life (which included another healthy child), the reactions of others to her children and how her family dealt with their deaths are very moving. Although at times angry and devastated, she was brought by the Lord to humble acceptance and submission to His will. Emotional, thought-provoking and profitable to read.
Having ourselves suffered the loss of a nephew at just 19 months old, this quote from Lorraine Boettner in the appendix of 'From Grief to Glory' rings so true...
Clearly, accomplishment in life cannot be measured in terms of years alone. It often happens that those that die young have accomplished more than others who live to old age. Even infants, who sometimes have been with their parents only a few days, or even hours, may leave profound influences that change the entire course of the life of the family. And undoubtedly, from the Divine viewpoint, the specific purpose for which they were sent into the world was accomplished. It is our right neither to take life prematurely, nor to insist on its extension beyond the mark that God has set for it.
From Grief to Glory, by James W Bruce III, published by Banner of Truth, £6.25
Under the Rainbow, by Catherine Campbell, published by Ambassador, £7.99