Podcast: The Day I Lost My 3-Year-Old Son (Cameron Cole)

This article is part of the The Crossway Podcast series.

Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

In this episode, Cameron Cole discusses the unexpected death of his three-year-old son, Cam. He shares about the initial shock when he first heard the terrible news, recalls the thoughts and questions that filled his mind in the days, weeks, and months following, and reflects on how that tragedy and all the suffering it entailed has ultimately strengthened his hope in God rather than destroyed it.

Therefore I Have Hope

Cameron Cole

This book considers 12 life-giving truths that Christians can cling to in the midst of tragedy—truths that brought vital hope and comfort to the author when grieving the sudden loss of his 3-year-old son.

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Topics Addressed in This Interview:

01:32 - The Cole Family

Matt Tully
Cameron, thank you so much for joining me today on The Crossway Podcast.

Cameron Cole
Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Matt Tully
In November of 2013, something happened to you and your family, something that you called “your worst nightmare.” But before we get into that, I would love for you to tell us a little bit about your family at that time.

Cameron Cole
My wife's name is Lauren, and she and I were married in 2007. We had our first child—Cameron—in 2010. He's named after me—Cameron Cole—and then we had our daughter Mary Matthews Cole. With a name like Mary Matthews Cole, you know that she's from Birmingham, Alabama—solid, deep South, Southern name! She was born in 2012. In November of 2013, Cam was three-years-old and Mary Matthews was just about to turn one.

Matt Tully
What were you doing at the time for your work?

Cameron Cole
I've been in youth ministry since 2005, so at that time I was a youth director at a church. I've been at the same church for fifteen years. I was working with students and sharing the gospel and teaching the Bible and was just very, very into youth ministry, and specifically gospel-centered youth ministry.

02:57 - A Two-Part Worst Nightmare

Matt Tully
I think many, if not all, of us have contemplated something you call our “worst”—the worst thing that could happen to you and your family. We've all had those thoughts, and they're often not very pleasant thoughts, but we have them nonetheless. In your book you talk about how your worst had two parts to it. Can you explain what those two parts were?

Cameron Cole
Any parent will tell you that their worst nightmare is the death of their child. I had that as a worst, but that wasn't it. I became a Christian in 1988 when I was eight-years-old and going into the third grade. I've really had a very easy life. I'm a white, American male; my parents were financially comfortable; school and sports and friends came easy; I got into the college I wanted to go to and the graduate school I wanted to go to; I had a really cute wife and had pretty kids. I kind of had this fear all along the way of, Yeah, I'm a Christian and I truly believe in and follow Jesus, but of course I do. If you were me and you had a life like I've had, then of course you believe that God is good and of course you accept all the promises of the gospel. I worried what would happen if something really bad happened to me. I really worried about losing my faith—that something really tragic would happen and I would lose my faith, and then I would be a huge disappointment and a huge sell-out to the students that I had been telling about Jesus for all these years and telling about the promises of the gospel. If I were to lose my faith, what would that do to them? I would kind of go to that next level in my worst—what is the thing that could cause me to lose my faith? I always identified the loss of my oldest child. I had nightmares of him getting hit by a car, or something else happens, and I become angry and bitter and turn my back on God and walk away. So that was kind of my worst nightmare.

Matt Tully
Had you seen other Christians in your life who had gone through some kind of really difficult trial or suffering and loss, or been really shaken, in their faith?

Cameron Cole
I can't identify specific people who are close to me, but I can remember being in college and talking to someone that said they had been a Christian but they no longer believed. I can remember him saying, God has just disappointed me too many times. He had a trauma in his life and he said, I just can't believe or follow anymore. I think you hear a lot of people in their justification for why they don't believe is that they've had a suffering or a tragedy of some sort where they say, I just can't believe in a God who would let this happen. Or, I thought that God loved me, but this happened; and surely he doesn't really love me if he let this occur and allow me to be in so much pain. So yeah, I think that might have been a seed that was planted that created that expectation or fear.

Matt Tully
Describe what happened on that November day in 2013.

Cameron Cole
On November 10, 2013 my little boy Cameron and I were playing Legos and he lost his Lego axe, so he asked if he could pray and ask Jesus to help find his Lego axe. So we prayed and we found it and he said, Oh! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus! And he started asking questions out of nowhere about heaven. He said, Can we go see Jesus today? And I said, Well, you can't go see Jesus today. He's with us, but you can't actually see him. He said, Can we get in the car and go see Jesus? I said, You'll see him when you go to heaven; but until then, we just trust according to God's Word that he's here. So he started to say, Am I going to see Adam and Eve in heaven? I said, Yeah, it seems like God forgave their sins. And then he pledged, in that conversation, and said, I'm not going to eat from the tree. I'm not going to eat that fruit. We're like, Buddy, everybody eats the fruit. We eat the fruit every single day. That's sin. That's why Jesus came. And he said, Jesus died on the cross. Jesus died for my sins. And that was really the last conversation I ever had with him. That night I went on a camp out. He was perfectly healthy. I had three missed calls from my wife the next morning. And then the fourth was coming in, and I took it. She told me, You've got to get to the children's hospital as soon as possible. Her voice was just filled with terror. I asked, What's going on? She said, I can't tell you. You've just got to get to the hospital. I was like, Honey, I can't drive forty-five minutes having no idea what is going on—what is going on? She said, Cameron is dead. She had found him dead in his bed, which is extremely rare for a child over the age of one to die in their sleep. People are familiar with SIDS—sudden infant death syndrome—which is not frequent, but it's not terribly uncommon. But that's for children under the age of one. After the age of one, the likelihood that a child will die in their sleep is less than one in 100,000 between the ages of one and eighteen. But that is what had happened. His death was characterized as SUDC—sudden unexplained death in childhood—which doesn't really mean anything. It's just a term they have so that parents can have a diagnosis, but it really means that we just don't have an answer. This was kind of the moment of truth. I had expected and anticipated that I would walk away from God if this very thing happened. So I was just really surprised by what the Lord led me to. The thing that came out of my mouth was, Jesus rose from the grave. That means that God is good, and this doesn't change that fact. That Cameron has died does not change the fact that God is good because Jesus rose from the dead. My reaction was the opposite of what I expected. I was confirming and affirming the veracity of the gospel promises and really believing that God was good. I had a forty-five minute drive to the hospital with one of my best friends driving. I was in total shock, but I kept on saying over and over again spiritual truths. And I was texting people and telling them what had happened. I said, Christ is king. God is good. This doesn't change that fact. I just found over time that God had actually been preparing me for this. I hadn't had a whole lot of personal trials prepare me, but where God had prepared me was theologically. He prepared me through his Word. Over the next month I kept on saying to my wife over and over again, I don't know how anybody could survive something like this if they didn't believe in the sovereignty of God or if they didn't know about God's daily grace or if they didn't know about the empathy of God or the presence of God or the hope of heaven or believe in the second coming of Christ. Ultimately, I was citing doctrines—I was citing biblical truths that I was finding to be absolutely essential to surviving. So that is the basis of the book Therefore I Have Hope. After a month of citing doctrine after doctrine, I finally wrote them all down on a sheet of paper, and then I wrote out a personal confession where I applied all those promises to my situation. For example, God is sovereign. Everything happens through his perfect discretion. That means my son's death is not an accident and it's not meaningless. So that's the story of how Cam passed away on November 11, 2013 and how my worst nightmare, in a sense, did come true; and in another sense, it did not come true. It did come true that my son died; it did not come true in the sense that I did not lose my faith. I found from there on—including now almost seven years later—my confidence in Christ and my love for him and my joy in Christ continues to increase.

12:14 - Theological Doctrines and the Aftermath of Tragedy

Matt Tully
You say that in the immediate aftermath of hearing the news even on that drive back to the hospital and in the following weeks God's sovereignty and God's goodness was a comfort to you, but have there been moments since Cam died that you have questioned either God's sovereignty or goodness? Or have there been times when those doctrines have been harder to swallow than maybe they initially were?

Cameron Cole
In the immediate aftermath it wasn't that Cam died and then my life was really easy for the next two years. There were a lot of other things that happened in the next year that were awful. I've said that even if Cam had not died, 2013-2015 still would have been the worst time of my entire life because of some very stressful and traumatic situations—a friend who died of cancer and all kinds of other difficulties. I got some good advice from someone who said, Your son has died, but don't think that all of a sudden your life is going to get easy, because more things might happen. I did find myself getting angry like, Hey God, I have paid my dues here. If there's a certain amount of pain that we've got to go through, I have done my time and this is not fair. Lay off. I need a break. I deserve a break—and this is all as more bad things kept on happening. So that was a time when really what I was doing there is questioning God's goodness, and I was forgetting my own sinfulness. I was kind of carrying this sense of entitlement of I don't deserve this, when in all reality, because of our sin, we only deserve God's judgement. We don't deserve any comfort, any grace, any goodness from God. What ultimately would rescue me from those moments was remembering my own sin. The chapter on sin from Therefore I Have Hope—which I think is one of the most important chapters of that book—was one of the hardest chapters to write. I wouldn't say this face-to-face to somebody who has just lost a child—it's much better to be able to say this to somebody before something happens—but from a proactive standpoint, we all need to understand that the second that we sin we deserve to be in hell. That's just a biblical reality. If we're not in hell right now, it's because of God's mercy; it's because of his grace. If we have any kind of blessings in this life, all of it is grace—whether you're a Christian or not a Christian—it is a product of God's grace. You have to have a biblical view of sin, and the Bible is hard-nosed on sin and hard-nosed on the consequence of sin because one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a person is to get bitter. That bitterness comes from a false sense of entitlement. Thinking, I deserve better. You owe me, God! when the gospel tells us he doesn't owe us anything. He doesn't owe us a thing as a result of our sin. That's not to say that God is punishing us when bad things happen, because that's also heresy. That's not belief in the gospel because Jesus was punished on our behalf on the cross. So I don't want to be misheard—God's not punishing us when bad things happen. And if Jesus, who lived a perfect life, was not spared from insane suffering, then we as sinners are certainly not entitled to any kind of comfort.

Matt Tully
It seems like oftentimes people shy away from doctrines like God's sovereignty over suffering and loss in part because they're trying to protect God from having to be in some way responsible for that. They're trying to say, God's not at fault for your son dying. That was something else or it was just random or it was a result of just sin in the abstract. But you're saying that's actually not helpful for the person. So how would you respond to somebody who's saying, I'm trying to protect God's goodness. I think that's ultimately going to be more helpful to believe in a God who is good in that he would never willingly allow something like this to happen?

Cameron Cole
I cite this in Therefore I Have Hope, but the story that stands out to me on this is being when I was at a funeral of someone who committed suicide. The pastor said to the family, One thing you need to know is that God didn't have anything to do with this. And you just have no idea how unhelpful that is to that family. First, it's funny that people feel like they need to protect God like he is this defenseless wimp. No, God can defend himself. God is a big boy is the understatement of the century. He's the almighty God. The reality is, the cross is probably the most helpful thing to help us understand that God is both sovereign and good. Those two things can coexist. It doesn't seem like that in our minds as human beings because we have limitations as people, but we see in the cross the ultimate communication of God's goodness. He's giving his Son over to die for us. He shows that he's for us and that he loves us. He chooses us over his Son. At the same time, it is clearly by God's sovereignty that Jesus ends up on the cross. It's not an accident. Jesus is a victim of injustice in the sense that he is murdered and tortured. At the same time, Jesus says to his disciples when he takes the turn to Jerusalem in all of the Gospels, Look, I've got to go die. It's time for me to go die. The disciples resisted: No way! You can't do this, it's not part of the plan. And Jesus says, No, this is the plan. In submitting to the sovereign direction of the Lord God he goes to Jerusalem, and it is by God's sovereign discretion that Jesus dies on the cross. So you have God's sovereignty and God's goodness right there, the clearest picture of God's love and God's character that we have in all of Scripture. We don't want to create a God of our own understanding. There's a real danger in that—it's false. In good times we can kind of dilute ourselves with this self-made god. But when everything hits the fan and you're in a gutter and all you have is a Santa Claus god, you're in real trouble. The existential cream rises to the top and you know it's a make-believe god that you've been making up. There's this really great scene from an old episode of ER—an old TV drama—where this man is dying of cancer and is near the end. They have the chaplain come in and she's feeding him all kinds of new agey nonsense and platitudes. The man says, No! I need a real chaplain who believes in a real God and a real hell! He had done something in his life that he did not know or believe if it could be atoned for. She's just giving him cliches and he's like, No. I know that's not real. I need something real. Tell me the truth. When you're in that kind of situation and you're staring death or your staring suffering in the face, you need a real God in all his fullness—the good, the bad, and the ugly; the things that we like and don't like. That God is presented to us in the Bible, in the fullness of God's Word, and in the person of Jesus Christ—particularly as seen in his life, death, and resurrection.

21:07 - The Importance of Provisional Grace

Matt Tully
You talk about the idea of provisional grace as an important concept that you had and clung to as you wrestled through the aftermath of Cam's death. For those who aren't as familiar with that term, what do you mean by “provisional grace”?

Cameron Cole
When I talk about provisional grace I'm referring to God's grace that he gives us every day for every situation that he brings us into. I think one of the most valuable conversations I ever had leading up to Cam's death was a conversation I had eleven years before he died. I was talking to a pastor in my church—this was when I was struggling with depression and was resigning from my job not really knowing where life was going to go. He told me a story about how his wife had a medical condition where for certain amounts of time she would be completely dependent upon him and she could not take care of herself. When those times would come upon her, he would have to take off work and take care of her. This would happen at least ten times a year. So she would always worry, What's going to happen to me if you die? I just can't imagine life without you—who would take care of me? He's like, Well, you can't imagine that because you're not in the situation. God only gives you grace for what he calls you to, and he hasn't called you into being a widow. But if he did, he would give you the grace to be able to imagine it. So I know for myself, before Cam died, I couldn't imagine losing a child. I had no concept that a person could survive that. But now, six and a half years later, I can imagine that. Now I can't imagine losing another child, but if that's what were to happen—God forbid—God would give me the grace for that. And all of us can think about different situations where we see people struggle and suffering—people I know have very severe special needs and disabilities—and I don't know how they do it. I don't know how they muster up the strength and energy everyday to be so faithful when it's such a huge challenge. I can't imagine it because it's not my story; but they can. I see dozens and dozens of incredible parents who love their children who have significant disabilities, and it's because God gives them the grace they need everyday for the thing that he calls them to. He's called them into being a parent of a special needs child, and he's given them the grace to faithfully follow that calling. There was a couple at our church who were about eight years older than me and they had previously lost a child. I was walking down the road one day and this woman—whose name is so poetically and perfectly “Angel”—she knew me and she knew what had happened to me. It was a providential encounter, and she just said to me, You're going to have to ask God for the grace in the morning to make it to lunchtime. Then at lunch time you're going to have to ask God for the grace to make it to dinnertime. Then at dinnertime you're going to have to ask God for the grace to make it to bedtime. And at bedtime you're going to have to ask God for the grace to fall asleep. This mentality of daily grace, daily help—if you start to think about tomorrow or ten years from now or twenty years from now, you're toast. You're not there, so God has not given you the grace for that day. You are here now. A good question for a person to ask themselves is to ask, Do I believe that God can give me the grace to make it through today? And the answer to that is, Yes. He can; and he will.

25:37 - Ground Zero Moments

Matt Tully
That connects in with the broader idea of trying to understand something like this—to understand what it's like to go through a tragedy like this when you haven't actually experienced it yet. As you think back about your worst and what you imagined your worst to be and then how it actually ended up being—you mentioned that God giving you the grace to make it to the next day is something that you couldn't have understood beforehand; you mentioned not losing your faith, but instead clinging to those doctrines that you knew before and how that was in some ways surprising to you—are there any other things that stand out that were surprising about what it was like to experience tragedy that you just didn't understand or you were totally wrong on beforehand?

Cameron Cole
I'll tell you one, and it's not fun. It's something that I'll kind of try to gently warn people of. I was just not prepared that things were going to get worse before they got better. I kinda thought in the first week, This is as bad as it's going to get. I kind of thought that everything is just going to incrementally and slowly and progressively get better. But in reality, when you have a sudden loss things actually get worse before they get better.

Matt Tully
Why is that? What do you mean?

Cameron Cole
It's funny—in the early stages, you're in shock. Here's an analogy that I use to try and explain this to people: It's like a nuclear bomb has gone off in your city, and every day you get up and you walk down a street and you say, Oh my goodness! This street has been completely leveled! And then the next day you get up and go down to another street and see it's been leveled. When you have a sudden loss, every day you're getting up and you're going down a new street. And every day you're seeing that every house, every building has been leveled by that tragedy. With that being said, you're getting a greater sense of the totality of your loss; you're getting a greater sense of just how comprehensive and far-reaching the effects of it are, and it gets harder and harder before it gets better. It's like, the first week you start walking down into a dark valley, and you go down for several months before you start to walk out of it. And even when you're starting to walk out of it, you're still in a dark valley. You're still way down there. Because my wife and I are known in our community to have lost a child, we always have a couple that's lost a child that we're walking with and trying to pastor and encourage through something like this. The way I try to gently say it is, Don't be surprised and don't feel bad if things get worse before they get better. And that's just so they're not caught off guard. I was just so discouraged. I was like, Oh my goodness! How could things be worse than they were that first week? There is nothing worse than getting that traumatic news, and nothing will ever touch the kind of trauma we experienced in the first couple of days. But I was just so discouraged and thinking, Is this just going to get worse for the rest of my life? That's just not the case. Things will get better eventually, but I just try to gently warn people by saying, Don't feel like you're doing it wrong or that you're abnormal if things do get worse before they get better.

Matt Tully
Keeping up with that metaphor of a nuclear bomb in a city, are there ever days now where you stumble upon a street that you haven't been down yet and some of those vivid emotions come back?

Cameron Cole
That's a great question. For sure. Knowing what I know now, when I have students in my youth group who have lost a parent and then a big transition in life of some sort is coming, I'll call the parents and I'll say, Hey, you need to be ready. If a child's about to graduate and their dad died eight years ago, I'll call the mom and say, This is going to stir up some grief for you. This is going to stir up some grief for your child. And then I'll communicate that to the child and say, Don't be surprised if you feel some sadness and you feel some grief. It's kind of like if you've ever sprained your ankle really bad once, you're going to tweak it for the rest of your life. I know for my wife the beginning of school is always really sad for her—both when school is letting out and school is beginning again. Because Cameron never made it to Kindergarten, when his contemporaries began Kindergarten that was really, really sad. It was a really sorrowful week for her in particular, and for me too. And anytime we send our kids to school there is this concrete reminder that he's not there. It just pops up at times that you really don't expect it. My family has a place for vacation in North Carolina, and anytime we're packing up to leave I'm always a mess. I always cry because we went on a trip to North Carolina with him the week before he died. We got home from that trip on a Friday, and he died on Sunday night. So whenever we're leaving North Carolina, I always start to cry. I had a great conversation with a man named Martin whose young daughter, Mary Katherine, had died suddenly seventeen years before Came died. We're standing in the middle of the street—this is virtually a stranger—and he starts to cry. He says, Cameron, you do not understand this now, but seventeen years from now you will understand what a blessing this moment is to me right now to cry about my daughter. God will heal 95% of your heart, but he's going to leave 5% of your heart unhealed—and that is a gift. It's a gift because when I cry about my daughter's death, I feel connected to her and it reminds me that I still love her so much and I haven't forgotten her. I call them “ground zero moments” when you kind of go back and feel a lot of what you felt when he died. But there is also still a real gratitude that God grants you those moments because you do really feel connected with your child and it gives you a really hopeful, healthy longing to be in heaven with the Lord and to be reconnected with your child in heaven.

33:23 - Specific Encouragement for Grieving Parents

Matt Tully
What would you say to the parent who did lose a child and is tempted to think about what life could have been like and what it would have been like—all the things that they're missing out on? Would you caution someone to resist that temptation?

Cameron Cole
I would say it's a both/and. It's a perfectly healthy and good thing to mourn those things because there are things that are lost, and that is completely consistent with the fall. We see that it's a godly, righteous thing to lament. We see that all throughout the Old Testament in particular—in the Psalms, in the Prophets, in Lamentations—so lamentation is a good thing. I would encourage a person and say that it is a God-honoring thing to lament what is lost. But you cross a line into danger when you live your whole life in the hypothetical. There is something very, very helpful—and this is a maxim that comes out of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)—they say “Do life on life's terms.” Maybe a more theological or Christian way to say that is “Do life on God's terms.” Accept the life that God has given you. You can only really do that if you know that he's good, that he's in control, and you know that he's for you. If you do believe that, then as awful and painful as the circumstances are, the reality is that's your story. Lament that; mourn that; feel that in every way; and in time come to a place of acceptance where you accept the story that God has written for you and the path that he has called you to walk, and know that there is resurrection in the path. You're on the cross right now, but Jesus will bring you out of the metaphorical emotional grave. Trust that he will bring you to know in a very, very rich way that there's hope and that you'll know the joy of the resurrected life of Christ as you trust God through the dark times.

Matt Tully
What would you say to the parent listening right now who has maybe just recently lost a child? Maybe they're in that phase where they just don't know how they can possibly get through this season of life. It just feels like there's just a wall in front of them and they can't see any further than that wall—what would you say to that person right now?

Cameron Cole
I have a couple of things I would say to them. The first thing I would say is win today. Just win today. You cannot allow your mind to wander to tomorrow or a week from now or a year from now. I can remember thinking, What is this going to be like when his friends graduate from high school? I was looking fifteen years into the future, and it crushed me. I remember thinking, What's it going to be like when my daughter—Mary Matthews—gets married and he's not there? That stuff was just so overwhelming. It takes us back to that provisional grace concept. If you work in pastoral ministry at a church you're there on ground zero when bad things happen, and I say the same thing over and over again—You've got to focus on today. You've got to break life down into small units and just trust Jesus and trust his grace to get you through the small, little chapters—this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow. So that's the first thing I would say. The second thing I would say is that you need to have an honest relationship with the Lord. You cannot allow yourself to go into this hyper-spiritual fake Christianity where you feel like God expects you to act like you're happy. That is not what God calls you to do. God calls you to lament; he calls you to emote; he calls you to just pour out your feelings to him. If you don't do that, you're either going to harden your heart or you're going to become bitter because you're going to be turning away from God with those feelings. So take those feelings to the Lord. He can handle it. He's going to cry with you—he's mourning with you and he's a safe person that you can express your emotions to. So I really encourage you to lament to God. The last thing I would say is to remember that God is empathetic. He knows what you're going through. Jesus experienced the full spectrum of pain, suffering, and betrayal that any person will encounter in this life. He is a safe audience in that way because he understands. I think for anyone who is suffering, there's a special comfort in being around people who know what you're going through. Lauren and I went on a retreat that Nancy Guthrie and her husband, David, put on for people who have lost children. It was just so nice to be around people who knew all the feelings, knew all the crazy thoughts you had, and all the different challenges—that was just really helpful. When you talk to the Lord, he is a suffering God. He suffered in Jesus, but he suffers today, too, for and with his children. Don't lose sight of the fact that the Lord is empathetic, especially if you're a person who's lost children. He's lost a child and in an awful way. I'm fortunate in a sense that my child died in his sleep. My little boy went to bed one night, he woke up and Jesus was at the foot of his bed and Jesus took him to heaven. I'm not sure if that's perfectly theologically accurate—maybe it was angels, I don't know! But I do know he woke up and he saw Jesus face to face. Jesus, God the Father's Son, died an awful, violent death. He was also separated from the Father. He experienced the pangs of hell in his death before he was resurrected. So you've got an empathetic God that you can really trust in something like this.

Matt Tully
As a last question, speak to the parent listening who is not in that immediate aftermath of losing a child—maybe it's been months or even years since that happened—and they're in the stage that you call “the long hall” so to speak. What advice would you offer for the long hall?

Cameron Cole
For the long hall, one piece of comfort that I would offer to parents is that you're never going to stop loving your child, and you're always going to remember your child vividly. I think that's a fear that I had is that one day we just wouldn't remember him as closely or that we would forget about him or we wouldn't feel as connected. We talk about him every day in our family—every day. We think about him and, in fact, right now I have a picture of him on my desk right there. So you're never going to forget your child and you're never going to lose that sense of connection. You're going to see your child one day again. The second thing I would say to a person in the long hall phase is that things are going to get better. They really are. You're going to have to trust the Lord to get you there and you're going to have to feel the feels and process the emotions, but you're not always going to be miserable. I think especially in the first year after your child dies there's some either high grade or low grade level of misery every single day. It doesn't end the first year; things are a little bit different the second year. But I'm really excited about my life. I enjoy my family, I enjoy my kids, I love my job. Gosh, I really hope we play college football! But even the fact that I said something as shallow as that—I can remember thinking in the months after Cam died, I'm never going to be excited about anything ever again. That just basic enjoyment of life really can come back, and it usually does come back. So I would say be hopeful. The Lord is a healer, and he really can heal your heart and bring you to a place where you enjoy your life. You'll always have that wound and that will be a part of your story that is hard, but it's not going to dominate your life after a number of years.

Matt Tully
Cameron, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story—the story of your family—and hopefully offer some real encouragement to others listening right now who are dealing with a whole host of issues that are challenging—trials and suffering—and for reminding us of these foundational truths that we have in the Bible.

Cameron Cole
Thanks for the opportunity. It's really a blessing to talk about my little boy and to also get to talk about the goodness of God and the healing power of God in my life. It's really a joy to be reminded of his faithfulness.


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