Last week a very difficult situation arose with one of our fellow Oklahomans. Due to some rare complications from the flu and strep throat, a precious little five-year-old girl, by the name of Emersyn (Emmy) Waddle, passed away. Emmy’s story was picked up by the news media and followed widely on social media. Truly, thousands of people, in a matter of just a few days were gripped and moved by little Emmy’s story. I was one of those touched by this story and would like to share a few thoughts related to it.
As many of you know, my seven-year-old son, Trey Freeman, went to be with the Lord on September 1, 2013. I have referenced his story a number of times in this column, but have written extensively about our journey on my personal blog site at www.pastorjfreeman.com. Because of what our family has been through, whenever I hear of others dealing with the loss of a child, my heart is immediately connected with them, even if I do not know them. When I heard about Emmy, and although I did not know them personally, I began praying for her and her family. My heart was immediately connected, and I found myself weeping with them, praying with them, and grieving with them. I was following the updates on their Facebook page (Praying4Emmy) and hoping and longing with everyone else for God to heal this precious little girl.
It was not long before I saw Emmy’s mom post something that was all too familiar to me. On their Facebook page she said, “Unless God intervenes Emersyn Leigh will be in Heaven today.” At 8:57pm that night, sweet little Emmy went to be with her Savior, Jesus Christ. When I read that, I was immediately taken back to September 1, 2013 where my family and I experienced the exact same thing. We were desperate for God to intervene and bring healing, but God chose to bring a different kind of healing, a better kind of healing. With Trey, and now Emmy, our good and gracious Heavenly Father chose to heal these precious children in the most excellent of all ways. He chose to deliver them from this fallen world, a world plagued by sickness, disease, and death, and heal them eternally. The grace of God carried these precious children straight into His loving arms, and while our heart grieves, it also rejoices.
This life is hard. It is really hard. But, if you believe the Bible, then you understand why. The Bible tells us that this world is not all that there is. This world is fallen because of sin, and the effects of sin are devastating. But, God is not finished yet! One day, there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth where there will be no more sin, pain, suffering, or death. God has made us to live for eternity, and those who embrace His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior are guaranteed eternity with Him. This is why we must live for what matters, eternal things. My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 4:18, which says, “So we fix our eyes, not on what we can see, but on what we cannot see; for what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.” Today, make sure you know Jesus Christ and make sure you live for eternal things. Hang on, because God is not finished yet!
Thank you so much for praying for our baby girl, Emersyn Waddle. You may not know this but we have followed Trey’s journey for a very long time and always read your blog. I remember that Sunday that Trey passed away so vividly. I cried for your family. I have thought so many times that if this ever happened to us, I only hope that I could handle it with the grace that your family has showed. Your kind words meant so much to our family. I imagine Emmy and Trey running through Heaven and that is my comfort and joy! To be reunited some day with our children keeps us going. Thank you so much!