A Modern Perspective on Death
One of the things my wife and I really learned in parenting children with special needs is how many assumptions and senses of entitlements we had coming into life. Perhaps this is a twenty-first-century thing. Four hundred years ago, you wouldn’t have expected all your children to survive. You might have expected a minority of them to make it to adulthood. There are a great many things about modern adulthood—the lives that we now lead—that would have seemed like extraordinarily abundant blessings to people a long time ago.
In our culture, we realized just how much we had assumed we would have, how many things we believed were almost rights of ours, and things to which we believed we were entitled. Our journey of experience has been with special needs kids, but I think this lesson could apply to a great many situations where unexpected things happen and change the trajectory of our lives.
Our healthcare is so good, our life-expectancy is so good, that many of us don’t live with the reality of death.
God’s Purpose vs. Our Expectations
One of the things this teaches us is that we are far less able to map out a pristine future than we thought. God, in his goodness, will be shown to us even though an awful lot of the things that we hoped would happen don’t happen.
I think this would have been very obvious to past generations because most people were much more intimately aware of the reality of death and debilitating sickness than we are. Our healthcare is so good, our life-expectancy is so good, that many of us don’t live with the reality of death.
In our case, we just lived thinking we would have a certain kind of life. As things crashed upon our expectations and changed our lives completely, we learned that life is much less predictable and God is much better—even in some of those challenges and unpredictabilities—than we had come to see that he was. In many ways, we have grown and learned from that process.
I trust that would be the experience of a great many others who experience things they were not expecting to happen.
Learn 14 gospel-centered parenting principles from Paul David Tripp’s book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Familly.
Paul David Tripp draws six agenda-setting observations from Psalm 51 for our work as a parents.
In a sense, our story was really one of reconsidering every aspect of our lives.