Thirty years ago on July 10, 1984, my wife Joyce and I went to the hospital in anticipation of the birth of our first child.
Our joy soon turned to sorrow as the doctor could not find the baby’s heartbeat. Our first son, David Randall Wilkey, was stillborn, having been strangled by his umbilical cord.
Words cannot express the grief and anger we experienced that day and the days that followed. As always when tragedy strikes we sometimes ask, “Why us?”
Then, I was not a mature enough Christian to counter with, “Why not us?”
We made it through those dark days only by God’s amazing grace.
As I have gotten older, I have forgotten a lot of things, but the memory of those days surrounding David’s death are still vivid.
I remember the comfort and help given by my former pastor Ken Clayton, now retired. He walked me through the process of arranging for my son’s burial.
I remember Rick and Debbie, a couple in our church who were good friends and were there for us when we needed them.
I remember Melody Rankin Ashworth, then a member of the college and career Sunday School class Joyce and I taught. Melody attended the graveside service for David and brought a single rose to place at his burial site. That began a tradition that has continued for the last 30 years as Joyce and I go to David’s graveside on the anniversary of his birth.
I didn’t know it then, but I know now that those kindnesses and other acts of love shown to us then were part of God’s amazing grace.
David’s death was the first major “setback” for Joyce and I as a married couple. We have had plenty more “trials and tribulations” since then, but just as God did when David died, His grace has been sufficient. I may never fully understand why David died before his birth, but I know God used that tragedy to bring Joyce and I closer together than ever before. We knew that if we made it through that darkest hour, we could make it through anything — and we have.
When things appear to be the worse, I lean on this verse, found in John 16:33 (HCSV): “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
To God be the glory for His amazing grace.