“My Little Samuel,
My Little Samuel,
He’s a precious little tiny angel.
My Little Samuel.”
I sang this song to him over and again while we rocked! Samuel means “Asked of God” – that is exactly what I had done. Just like Hannah asked for her son in I Samuel 1:10, I had prayed for a child. God granted that gift with a wonderful 7 lb. 10 oz. baby boy – Samuel!
We had three and a half busy, happy years together before God took Samuel home to be with him. I felt such unimaginable grief, betrayal, anguish, abandonment, emptiness, injustice – “This can’t be – God didn’t really give me the desire of my heart only to take him back! I didn’t have long enough, I needed more time!” It was around midnight on a Saturday night when my life was changed forever – my little Samuel was gone tragically on Mother’s Day.
The day began like so many others, as I was cooking breakfast while Samuel played upstairs in the playroom. I heard him crying and I ran upstairs. He was holding a place on his chest. There was no blood to indicate a serious injury, but I held him until he quit crying. There was nothing but a tiny red dot on his chest. He wanted to show Daddy and put a Winnie the Pooh band-aid on it. A small accident was an all-too-familiar scene in the life of a three year old boy.
When the babysitter arrived, my husband and I went to work and all seemed well. When I got home from work, Samuel's babysitter said he had not felt good after a long nap. She took his shirt off and showed me the place he had hurt that morning. The tiny red dot had swollen like a mosquito bite. We went out to dinner with some friends and Samuel was just not himself. He didn’t want to eat or play.
I felt as though my world had stopped when Samuel died. Life became very dark. I felt like it was the end of my hopes, the end of my dreams, and the end of the world that I lived for. The reality that he was gone was more than I could bear.
I thought of all the things I could never do again. I could never hold him again, rock him to sleep, kiss his tiny hurts, brush that baby fine hair, sing to him and teach him, watch cartoons or play outside, hear him call my name, see the sparkle in his eyes, comfort him when he was afraid, clean up his messes and pick up toys, wash his little clothes, give him a bath as he played with tub toys, sing with him while getting him dressed, praise him for “going potty,” or touch his soft skin, know his sweet love, go to birthday parties or day care, read bed time stories, or watch him participate in school programs.
I thought about not seeing him grow through kindergarten, elementary and high school, play soccer, walk across the stage at graduation, go to college, or even marry and have a family of his own. My arms were empty, but even more the arms of my heart ached to hold him one more time – just once! All that was left to remind us of Samuel were his toys and clothes, his room, his friends, his pictures, our memories, and his tiny hand-prints on the windows. I felt that all I really had left was the agony of empty arms.
This was the first time I had ever felt disappointed in God, thinking He had not taken care of me. I had given my life to the Lord when I was 6 years old, so I had always been confident that God was in me and with me taking care of me. Although I felt disappointed in God, the truth is that He never said that life would be fair. I felt cheated because the plans I had for my life were not His plans. There were no answers for my tormenting questions. We never really knew what caused Samuel’s death. When I could no longer answer my questions about who I was any more, what was my purpose for living was now, God answered them for me. I felt that I was at the end of my rope when I read Romans 8:26-27:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Indeed the Spirit had interceded for me when I was so emotionally exhausted that there were no words. Then I could finally say to God, “All that I am and all that is mine are Yours.” When I finally gave it all to Him, He began to renew my mind with His strength, His presence, compassion and grace. I had to be still and let Him overwhelm me with the reality that He is God. I had to be still and surrender my hopes and dreams to Him!
One year later, my Mom died after much suffering with cancer. I was numb from losing my baby and my Mama. Ironically, it was again on Mother’s Day – when I should have been celebrating with my Mom and being celebrated for being a Mom! For me, it was gripping grief – nothing more. As time passed, I sought healing and yielded to God’s sovereignty. I learned to celebrate the little things, to praise God for His purposes and plans, to cherish the time with loved ones, to give them to God in my heart, to try to see people and situations through God’s eyes, to know when God needs me to be his messenger of hope and peace. No, it has not been easy! But His mercies are new every morning!
Until He calls me home, and until I see Mama and Samuel again, I will trust Him to guide, sustain, comfort and provide. I can hardly wait to hear Him say, “Well Done!”
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him” (Psalm 62:1).
Lord, through our greatest sorrow and pain, your Holy Spirit provides comfort. We cannot understand, but we can rest assured that you know our hearts. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, sacrificed His only Son so that we might have eternal life and perfect healing in Heaven. Thank you for the life of this precious child, Samuel, and for the peace you gave to his mother – a peace that is beyond human understanding. In Jesus' name, Amen.