Children on Loan to Us from God

The following is an excerpt from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Letter II, “To a Christian Gentlewoman on the death of her daughter.”

Good mistress, if ye would not be content that Christ would hold from you the heavenly inheritance which is made yours by His death, shall not that same Christ think hardly (hard) of you  if ye refuse to give Him your daughter willingly, who is a part of His inheritance and conquest?  I pray the Lord to give you all your own, and to grace you with patience to give God His also.  He is an ill debtor who payeth that which he hath borrowed with a grudge.  Indeed, that long loan of such a good daughter, an heir of grace, a member of Christ (as I believe), deserveth more thanks at your Creditor’s hands, than that you should gloom and murmur when He craveth but His own. . . . you are nearer your daughter this day than you were yesterday.  While ye prodigally spend time in mourning for her, ye are speedily posting after her.  Run your race with patience.  Let God have His own; and ask of Him, instead of your daughter which He hath taken from you, the daughter of faith, which is patience; and in patience possess your soul.  Lift up your head: ye do not know how near your redemption doth draw.

I was greatly moved by Rutherford’s pastoral heart/theology, but particularly with the notion that he set forth for this woman, that her daughter was on loan to her from God, and that her death was but God having His own, His inheritance, His conquest.  While the following was not intended immediately by Rutherford, I was further provoked by the following thought: how tightly we hold onto our children, hoping and praying and laboring as it were to keep them out of the hands of the God who has redeemed them (if they are redeemed).  It is good for us to remember that God has been exceedingly gracious to us in granting that we should have them for a season, but also, and in light of such grace, that they are after all, only on loan.  Thus, if they be (Oh, God let them be) redeemed by Christ, let us be moved to have an open hand with our children, that God might have them for His service . . . whatever the cost, whatever the continent, whatever the loss to us.  So God will be big, Christ displayed according to His true worth, and the Gospel evidenced to be the power of God unto salvation for any man.  To do otherwise would be to waste the inheritance that God has given to us, and on what?  Sports?  God help us!  They are a gift, dear parental brothers and sisters.  Pray for their salvation, and when it comes, let God have His own which to you has been on loan.

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