By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA (ANS – June 21, 2016) — The nation was horrified by the loss of two-year-old Lane Graves after he was snatched at the edge of a lagoon by an alligator in front of his parents at an upscale Disney hotel only a monorail stop away from the Magic Kingdom.
A troubling dimension to the loss of a child is the question of their eternal destiny. There will be comforting words from friends, but some will be left wondering if they will see their little one in heaven.
One of the most famous sermons ever delivered by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, the legendary pastor and Bible teacher with a Texas twang, addressed this important question.
The subject was close to his heart because the McGee’s first child was stillborn.
“There is no sorrow quite so heartrending as the death of a little child,” Dr. McGee affirmed. “The image of the little one is written so indelibly upon the mind and heart that during the long watches of the night it appears on memory’s screen to haunt us.”
From talking with other grieving parents, he knew that if the child lived long enough to walk and to talk, their memory left “a lingering fragrance in the home” that now was strangely silent too soon.
The grief was palpable. “The arms are empty, the eyes are filled with tears, and the heart is like a vacant house,” he said.
Yet he and his wife fell into the arms of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom he trusted would apply “strong splints and sweet ointment” to their wounded spirits.
Importantly, Dr. McGee came to the realization that a brief life is not an incomplete life. “We sometimes feel that a life which was so brief was in vain and that God has mocked us by giving us the little one and then by taking it away immediately.”
Photo captions: 1) Lane Graves (inset); overview of the Disney resort. 2) Dr. J. Vernon McGee. 3) Dan Wooding welcomes Mark Ellis to “Windows on the World.”
About the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and also founder of www.GodReports.com, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world. He is also co-host for “Widows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, which is airred weeekly on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv).
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