Within a three-month period, Marshall and Susan Shelley saw two of their children die. In November 1991, son Toby succumbed to birth defects after two minutes of life. Then in February 1992, daughter Mandy, almost 2, died of complications from microcephaly. Now after twenty years, Marshall, LEADERSHIP JOURNAL's editor, reflects on how these losses have affected his relationship with God.

After losing two children, and after years of reflection, I see some aspects of God's character in much sharper focus than before, while others are still behind a glass dimly.

Serving God demands more

I hadn't realized the cost of discipleship. God assigns some people incredibly tough situations. Mandy's life was marked by severe and profound retardation and frequent seizures. Toby's Trisomy 13, the doctors said, was "a condition incompatible with life."

Since our two children died, I can't help but pause, and wince, each time I read the Bible and see afresh the ...

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