Tragedy can draw us closer to the Lord, each other


The sun is shining. Ah, the wonder of spring becoming reality! Doesn’t it take the winter chill to enable us to appreciate the soothing rays of sunshine?

Isn’t that life itself? The difficult life events generate a rest and tranquility no other could reformat.

I find that those older people in my life who are full of the sweetness and gentleness I covet are often the ones who have passed through the heat of the battles of life and learned to accept situations as they are.

This past week, we had one of those reminders of life not being as planned. A 6-week-old baby died through the night of SIDS. For that young family, the sting is real, and it’s sharp.

Though I didn’t know the family well, when I was a teenager, I babysat for a little girl who was a cousin to this baby’s mother. Though they are not an Amish family we became friends through this connection. Though we rarely saw them, I still felt that kinship as years passed. Our children were spellbound by the story of such a tiny baby going to heaven.

We decided to all go to the viewing. It was an excellent opportunity for the children to experience the sovereignty of God, even in a situation as difficult as such.

It was precious to me; our six children gathered with me around the white cradle where baby Stetson was placed. Together we marveled, such sweet innocence. My mind went back to my two stillborn sisters years ago, now blooming in heaven.

We do not understand why the crushing disappoint of it all. Three-year-old Joshua, who I was holding, whispered, “Is he for real?”

“The baby went to be with Jesus, where Daddy is,” I responded. This reality, even sometimes too deep for us adults to grasp, made an impression on his young mind.

As the children shook hands with the grieving parents, it became real to them that these people also faced sadness with their loss. Shaking the father’s hand, I told him how beautiful his son looked in the little shirt which had been cut from the father’s favorite shirt. The father had requested explicitly for his best shirt to be used for a new shirt for his son. Beautiful. That’s love.

The Mommy of the baby held her infant through the funeral services. Despite their grief they rejoiced over their baby being safe with Jesus. What a beautiful picture of resilience.

Yes, we thought he was meant to stay, God meant for him to fly with the angels. I love the verse in Revelations 7:14 where it says, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

No matter how long or short our pathway to eternity is, we are promised an abundant life that goes on forever, filled with all the glories of love and joy abundant if we walk in obedience to our Savior Jesus Christ.

That afternoon Julia and Austin, along with more friends, sang at the graveyard. It was a sunny yet cool afternoon, as those gathered by the grave huddled together with both a common ache and a common joy. Though no longer with us, he’s safe in the arms of Jesus, as the song they sang.

In the evening when we as a family gathered in a circle in the living room to pray, there was an extra special accent to it. We are blessed to have each other.

As life continues, we pick up and go on with heartfelt prayers to the Father for all who have parted with loved ones. Surely, such tragedies will draw us all closer to the Lord and each other as we cry out to him.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a recipe from my cousin Judith, who is a friend to baby Stetson’s mother. Judith has blessed many others with this recipe over the past months. Food can provide comfort during a difficult time and a dish like this is easy to make and people seem to really enjoy it.


1 pound ground beef

1 pint tomato juice

3 /4 cup water

1 package taco seasoning

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup rice

1-2 cup cups of shredded cheese (any kind you like)

Optional: Lettuce, sour cream, salsa

Brown beef in a skillet with a lid. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until rice is tender, stirring several times throughout. Top with cheese and let it melt. Let it melt. Serve with lettuce, sour cream, salsa.

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

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