When Children Die; a Tribute to Brienna Rowland (2002-2014)
“In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16B
Our family was saddened in October 2014 as we received the unexpected news that Brie Rowland, a precious girl who was part of the children’s ministry of Grace Baptist Church (our former ministry in Pinson, Tennessee) passed away from a terrible and tragic accident. As the text came across my phone, tears began to flow.
From hospital hallways to funeral homes, a pastor’s life is continually blanketed by death. If we are not careful, we can slowly develop a robotic numbness to death.
And then a precious twelve year old girl is electrocuted in a freak accident. How do you wrap your brain around that? My answer to that question…you don’t.
Sarah and I taught her in Sunday school class for two years. It was obvious that she loved the Lord and served Him with gladness in her brief years upon this earth. I had the honor and privilege of baptizing her in the summer of 2010 (see picture below). Brie was a beautiful little girl; inside and out. She was a little shy, but always kind and polite.
As my eyes filled with tears, my heart was flooded with a few thoughts I would like to share…
God permitted what He could have prevented. God in His sovereign care permitted something that we cannot begin to understand. But He allowed it for a purpose. While on this side of eternity, we will not fully understand why Brie left us at such a young age. But when one day, after we have left this sin-stained world and are ushered into eternity with our Lord, the “curtain will be pulled back” so to speak, and what we did not understand here on earth will be explained to us in heaven. We will have fullness of knowledge.
Every heartbeat is a gift from God. God owes us nothing, not even our next heartbeat. Each day is a gracious gift from God. Every moment of life must be seen as a precious drink from the fountain of God’s grace.
God has a plan for our lives. – In the passage above, our friend King David expressed how God had mapped out his life from start to finish. The precise length of his life had been determined by God. These poetic words serve as a reminder to all of us that our lives are not held in confines of our own hands, but rather in the hands of God. The hands of God are the bookends holding our life story. There is a comfort and assurance we ought to find in this truth as we rest in the palms of God, who is the author of time.
As a believer, Brie’s earthly story is only the beginning of her eternal story; for her story is a story with no ending. As eternal creatures, people are designed by God to exist forever. Which raises a question; where will you spend eternity? Brienna Lacole Rowland had trusted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. If you have not done the same, please do not delay and do so today.
May God comfort the Rowland family during this most difficult time. Brian, Jamie, & Jameson, we love you.
– Pastor Eric