Parents Aren’t Supposed to Outlive Their Children

A couple days ago I met Rick and Lynn, two great people I wish I would have met under better circumstances. On September 11th, while the nation remembered and grieved the terrorist attack that took place nine years ago, that was the furthest thing from their minds. Because after a grueling three-year-battle with bone cancer (osteogenic sarcoma), that was the day they lost their 15-year-old son Jonah.

Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children.

Tomorrow (September 17th at 10:30am) I am officiating the funeral and it will be held at Woodside Bible Church. I hope their auditorium is standing-room-only so that Rick and Lynn and Jonah’s younger brothers Caleb and Luke know just how much they are loved. And I pray that those who attend don’t just tell them, “If there is anything I can do…” but instead that they are compelled by God to do something tangible. Give them money for the cremation. Buy them groceries. Cut their lawn. Cry with them.

The toughest part of the ceremony for me and probably for those attending as well will be when I read a letter that Lynn wrote to Jonah after he passed away. I just finished reading it, to familiarize myself with it so that I won’t stumble with the words . . . and I broke down crying. I don’t have permission to share it with you so I won’t. But it compelled me to write this post.

I wanted to share with you how I am going to end the service tomorrow. I am going to read from Revelation 21:1-4 and then give some thoughts about it. Here goes . . .

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

In heaven, there is no illness. There is no death. There is no pain.

In heaven, there is no osteogenic sarcoma. There is no chemo. There are no hospitals. There are no wheelchairs.

Those things are part of our world. Those things are part of the old order of things. And in heaven, the old order of things has passed away. These words from the apostle John paint a beautiful picture of what Jonah is experiencing right now.


About Dan Kopp

In 2010 Dan and Kellie felt the call by God to plant a church somewhere in Macomb County, Michigan. Several months later The Eastside Vineyard Church launched and currently meets inside Shelby Jr. High in Shelby Township. This blog began in the pre-launch phase of the church and has exceeded 50,000 hits. Thanks for reading!
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4 Responses to Parents Aren’t Supposed to Outlive Their Children

  1. robin fisher says:

    Hi Dan,

    I will be praying for you tomorrow. I know this will be very hard to get through. I just went through a journey with close friends, who lost their best high school friend, best man in their wedding, their age, 53, to stomach cancer. From his diagnosis to the day he died he was given 1 year and that is about what it was. The sad thing was he was so scared to die, no hope, so sad, cried…..they were at the cancer center in Houston for special treatments and he asked for a priest to come in and comfort him with words but the priest didn’t have much to say and this gentleman felt hopeless. My girlfriend was relaying all this to me daily as she walked the journey with him. I just felt so heavily compelled and prompted by God to share a letter/email with this gentleman sharing how he can have Hope and peace through Jesus Christ. I also shared these very scriptures and these words in my letter. I wanted him to know so much that he didn’t need to be afraid, scared or hopeless. No one should die and not have the gospel shared with them…everybody ought to know who Jesus is…He’s the Lily of the Valley….the bright and morning star. My girlfriend printed the email and gave it to his wife….who read it aloud to him while he laid on his hospice bed. I also felt a strong prompting to email those people whom I knew who would stop and pray for this gentleman right on the spot, no questions asked, that he would hear the Word of God read to him. He died that afternoon, his funeral was today. I pray God’s whispers into his ear was loud and clear. 🙂 and he is dancing with Jesus as I write this….just as Jonah is. No doubt whatsoever they have the best God has to offer…to be right there with Him….but it is so very hard on all of us left behind.

    Miss you and your family. Love your emails. God bless you tomorrow and fill you with strength, peace of heart, calm nerves as you minister to this family.


  2. James Timmer says:

    Well said Dan,
    I lost a sister three years older than me at the age of 45 a few years ago and I had the privilege of giving her testimony at her funeral. I was given the words by the Holy Spirit the night before and it was the same message you are speaking about, that my prayers for her healing were answered. In Heaven there is no more pain or suffering. My sister loved family reunions and I explained to the standing room crowd that she wanted another family reunion with everyone there. The only way to make that happen was for them to give their life to Christ and they would see Lois again. Jonah has met my sister now and I look forward to seeing them both someday, Lois again and Jonah for the first time.

  3. Lindsey Fischer says:

    You never think you’ll have to bury your children, we expect to bury our parents one day; subconsciously we are prepared for it, but not our fifteen year old child. I can’t imagine the heartache right now, praying for Jonah’s family, and you… tomorrow will be difficult.

    God works all things our for the good; your post encourages me to live each day for eternity! We have so much to look forward to, Heaven!!

    “When God goes to His garden, He only picks the most beautiful flower”


  4. Jessica Gortat says:

    My prayers are with you and this grieving family.

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