I remember walking through the hallway in the hospital where my baby resided and thinking, “God, you’re not helping. You could snap your fingers and my boy would be perfectly well.”
My son, Christopher Louis Jones Jr., was born with multiple severe birth defects in July 2015. He wasn’t expected to make it through his first night, but he survived on earth for 10 days. I have to admit that during that time, because of the pain and hurt I felt, I thought to myself, “I don’t believe in God anymore. I’ll be an atheist from now on.”
I made that decision as if it would hurt God and force him to heal my son. But five seconds later, I asked myself, “How was the world created?” The Big Bang Theory was too far-fetched for me; my heart didn’t allow me to ever truly let go of my Lord and savior. My faith was true, and I couldn’t break away from it. Here’s how that faith helped me get through losing my son:
1. I believe the brain has the power to heal, based on a person’s thinking. So I made a CD for Junior, full of my healing declarations. Junior was an infant, so of course his brain couldn’t understand the words, but I knew his spirit would. One of the Scripture verses I included was from Ephesians: “Having done all…stand.” My boy truly did all he could do. The doctors even weaned him off certain medication because he had worked so hard to heal. He did all, and I was proud of him. My faith encouraged me to do all, as well—to stand during my time of bereavement. I cheered my boy, I spoke health over him, and I prayed for him.
2. My faith gave me firm ground to stand on. I have always believed that God loves me and that I am the righteousness of God. I also believe that God always has a plan, regardless of how you feel about a particular situation. My hope for Junior was that God’s plan prevailed. The faith that I stood on was that weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
3. My faith gave me a shoulder to cry on. The first night in the hospital, I knew I had emotions bottled up that I needed to release. One way I thought to do that was by talking to my son and telling him my feelings. I started out by saying, “I need you in my life.” And then I burst into uncontrollable tears. At the time, my boy was asleep, so I began to talk to God, because He always listens. I prayed, “Lord, please let my baby live; I need him.” It felt like the conversation took hours, but afterward I felt relieved.
4. My attitude toward my son’s interests changed. The Bible says to train up a child in the way they should go and they will never depart from it. Here, the Bible talks about essentially developing the moral compass of a child. As Dad, that was my job. Well, Junior was big like a linebacker, and my dream for him was to join the NFL. But I was watching one of my favorite shows, The Bernie Mac Show. In one episode, Bernie wanted his adopted son, Jordan, to try wrestling, but Jordan took up ribbon twirling instead. I realized I would have to let go of my NFL dreams for my son. My job was just to raise him right, to give him his moral guidance. I was mentally preparing myself to do what the Bible says to do and to allow my boy to venture toward his own interests.
5. Lastly, talking about the potential plans of God helped to keep me centered. My boy did get a little better, but overall his health was on a declining slope. Death was nearing, and the famous question “Why?” was the topic of discussion. Knowing that God had a plan didn’t make the death of my son any less painful, but it made it acceptable. My final thought as we let Junior go was that God is in control.
Christopher Jones is the co-author of As Sure As Tomorrow Comes: One Couple’s Journey through Loss and Love and co-founder of the Angel Baby Network, teaming with his wife, Danielle, to support other families who have endured the pain of child loss. Christopher is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and is an avid Cincinnati Bengals fan. He runs his own photography business and is passionate about his faith, his marriage, and inspiring others with his son’s legacy.