Nick Cabbiness’ Testimony
Subject: Text from Nick Cabbiness on the death of his grandson
(This is from our good friend, Nick, who has been living in the Philippines for the past few years. This testimony about the “death” of his grandson is one of the most amazing and truly edifying testimonies I have heard or read my whole life. There is great sadness here — and tremendous joy and glory, too! I am posting this with Nick’s permission.)
Nick Cabbiness <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First — from John Collings
If you know Nick, you may know that his young grandson died this week. Following is Nick’s gospel on the events of the last week. Nick, son and grandson are in the Philippines. You may have received his Messenger text and have been praying for the family. I’ve put Nick’s email at the beginning of this forward to you in case you’d like to reply to him.
A lot has been happening here. This may take a bit to tell.
My son opened up to me about what he’s been going through—guilt for not being a better father, guilt for not finding a way to save his son, and how, since Tucker’s death, he’d been blaming himself. He described the agony of Tucker’s last hours, how hungry and thirsty he’d become (he hadn’t been able to hold down anything for the past week), how they had attempted to get him into the ICU of four different hospitals while his little life was slipping away, and how they had managed to finally get him in one only to watch him die within two hours.
This was my state of mind as my son met me at the bus stop late that evening. He promptly invited me to view Tucker’s body at his home where the wake was being held. I pondered whether this would be the moment. The room was filled with people. Would I put out the mourners as Jesus had done or tell them that little Tucker was only sleeping? As it turned out, I didn’t have to figure that out, nor was I alone in this decision, as I had precious brothers and sisters standing with me with encouragement and advice.
This was when my son told me his story, and where our two stories crossed. He relayed to me the grueling 30 hours he’d experienced since Tucker’s death in intricate detail. For 90 minutes straight, I listened to the horrendous path he’d walked, how God had taken him to the very bottom as he faced the fact that he’d been running from Him, even while making an idol out of his own little son. He related most intimately to the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The ultimate sacrifice of the son of promise. With all the mistakes he’d made, Tucker was the one thing he’d done right. He used to sing to him while still in the womb, and would calm him as a crying infant with those same songs. Though the mother was not his wife, and though they’d fought often, Tucker was their common ground of sanity and promise. And when he was taken, nothing was left. My son couldn’t eat or drink, couldn’t talk or leave his pain for even a moment. All he could do was weep. But then something happened.
Tucker’s mother, upon seeing the state of my son, challenged him: “You’ve got to quit crying. Didn’t you hear the story my mother told?”
In his last moments, Tucker’s mom and my son had gone down the hall to see perhaps if they could donate blood that would give the little guy a chance. They were gone perhaps for ten minutes. While they were away, Tucker had started crying to his grandmother, saying he was seeing a monster looming there for him.
But then . . . Jesus was there. . . And the monster was gone. Tucker then said, “Mama la, daddy, mama pay, Grandma (the two grandmothers and the parents). I love you. See you soon. I am coming with Jesus. Papa God is here.” And then his heart stopped.
The thing is, my grandson barely speaks any English, yet he was saying much of this in perfect English. And his grandmother doesn’t speak English either (but she does understand English), so it was curious that most of his last words were not in his local Visayan language. Perhaps that was for our sake.
When my son heard this story, the heavy burden of the last 30 hours just melted away. In its place, he felt a peace he’d not experienced in a long time. God was in charge. Jesus had come for his child. The endless lists of “if only” were replaced by worship and the sweetness of brokenness before God. He began to rejoice. It was a dramatic change, and a new boldness arose in his heart. Soon after, he was witnessing to Tucker’s mother, challenging her with, “if you really want to see your son again, you’ve got to get right with God.” And so she did. For the first time, she received this same Jesus who had come for her son. Immediately a change came over her. Peace filled her countenance. When I saw her, I knew she was different. She looked me in the eye for the first time since I’d known her.
All of this my son told me in that 90 minutes. Speaking up for the first time, I then told him of what God had shown me, and how Tucker could come back if he wanted. But it was his choice. Immediately, my son shook his head. “No,” he said. “Life will come out of Tucker’s death. God has told me this. And it’s already happening, and this is just the beginning.” I then knew that I really was seeing the glory of God.