Yesterday morning, one of God’s precious children was welcomed into heaven. Jerard was only four years old and was the soon-to-be-adopted son of Mark’s closest work colleague of almost 5 years.
Jerard and his twin brother joined the Symanzik family when they were tiny babies. Jerard had complex special needs, including two of the conditions that one of my sisters has: hydrocephalus and blindness.
Two months ago, Jerard’s condition deteriorated and yesterday God choose to end his suffering and welcome him into His arms.
The children and I visited Jerard 2 months ago, when he got home from his last hospital stay. Lydia’s little compassionate heart was really moved when she saw his little body, with feeding tube in his nose. He had changed and had become almost entirely unresponsive.
Since that visit, at almost every meal and every bedtime Lydia has prayed a simple prayer “Thank you for Jerard”. At first I wondered why she prayed “Thank you”. She had heard us pray so many other prayers for his little life over the years: for healing, for safe and successful surgeries, for medicines to work, for him to not experience any pain…. But four times a day, for 2 months Lydia’s prayer has been consistent and simple “Thank you for Jerard”.
Today in the midst of grief, sadness and questions, I have decided to join Lydia in her childlike, yet profound prayer: Thank you Lord, for Jerard.
Thank you that your created his little body in exactly the way that would bring you most glory
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:13-15
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3
Thank you that Jerard can now see, run, laugh and worship you with a perfect body in a perfect place.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Rev 21:4
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body. Phil 3:20+21
Thank you that you ordained the exacted number of days of Jerards life, before he was born.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Psalm 139:16-18
Thank you that your plans for Jerard were perfect and good
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11
Thank you that you had united Jerard with a Godly family who loved him with a sacrificial love that he really needed.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. Psalms 68:5-6
Thank you that your grace is sufficient for the Symanzik family as they face their grief and the difficult days ahead.
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9
Will you join us in thanking God for Jerard’s precious life and for Grace for the Symanzik family?