Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A. F. Darrow

A few weeks ago I traveled to Ashland City on a Saturday to speak at a youth rally at a church out in the country. During one of our breaks, I walked behind the building to an old cemetery. I like to look at headstones. It is interesting to see how people wish to represent their lives in epitaphs. It is also quite telling to examine the years they lived in history, and to think about what that must have been like.

While examining different graves I came upon a very peculiar situation. A set of five headstones all in a row. Two of them were for the sons of A.F. Darrow. One was for the daughter of A.F. Darrow. One was for the wife of A.F. Darrow. The last one was a double stone for the parents of A.F. Darrow. But there was no stone for A. F. Darrow!

A closer look revealed that the two sons had died in infancy at the turn of the twentieth century. The daughter had died at the age of 8. The wife had passed in her twenties. Only the parents of A. F. Darrow had lived their life out to old age. Their deaths occured nearly 50 years after the passing of the daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

My first reaction was shock and sadness. I began to think about what A. F. Darrow, whoever he really was, had to endure at such a young age. I have two boys and one girl. I can't imagine losing both of my sons only days after their birth. And how could I possibly handle losing my young daughter after I had built a relationship with her that was so special? - especially in the wake of already losing two children. Then what if I lost my wife as well - my companion, the beautiful wife of my youth? I felt compassion for this man with no stone, this man who was not laid to rest with his family.

But then it hit me. My mind drifted to the Biblical account of the life of Job. When I thought about it I immediately had my answer. I knew why A. F. Darrow was not buried with the rest of his family. He was still a young man when all of these things happened to him. He still had a full life to live. Consider these words from the end of the book of Job - "Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters....In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days" (Job 42:12-13, 15-17).

I cannot prove it, but I believe A. F. Darrow remarried and lived a full life. He probably had more children. He is most likely buried with his second wife and her family, wherever they may be. We need to be reminded and encouraged that God allows for blue skies when storms of life pass. He holds us in the palm of His hand. Every good and perfect blessing still comes from Jehovah - the same God whose own Son not only rolled His stone away - but made every stone only temporary!

"The end of a thing is better than its beginning..." ~ Ecclesiastes 7:8

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