The Face of Faith

Four-year-old Hayden Emmanuel Hitchcock died in a tragic accident recently and more than one community is mourning the loss. Heartache and prayer for the Hitchcock and Parke families were the immediate responses, and then came also the questions.

Why, God? Help us to understand Your plan in this too-soon death.

Please, Lord, overwhelm this family with Your mercy and love. Help us to help them.

Tears filled my husband’s eyes as he read the newspaper report, which included a wonderful photo of the happy boy’s grinning face. The morning of the funeral, RJ told me, “I cannot get that child’s face out of my mind.”

Along with hundreds of others, I witnessed on January 8, 2014, how a close-knit and faith-filled family handles unimaginable grief with dignity, unity, and a composure that only a true trust in God can bring. And I heard a grandmother ask, “Will you ever forget that face?” Everyone in the sanctuary was challenged to contemplate their own relationship with the Jesus little Hayden knew and loved. And I doubt seriously most of us will ever again hear his favorite song, “Oceans (When My Feet Fail)” without remembering “that face” and a mighty-mite of a boy who could do one-arm pushups and cheer for LSU with all his might.


We receive some comfort in knowing our community’s littlest “Captain America” is now playing (and probably fishing) in heaven.

The steadfast faith, love and strength we watched that day will encourage those who attended forever.



Filed under Faith, Family

4 responses to “The Face of Faith

  1. I am so very sorry to hear of this tragic news. I pray for comfort for you, your husband, and all who knew Hayden. It’s so difficult to try and understand sometimes. That song is one of my all time favorites, and actually played while guests were seated at my oceanside wedding. Every time we sing it for worship at church I have a hard time making it through without crying. They lose the harmony for a bit, because I simply have to put the mic down, cry, and praise God. The song still ministers to me. Thank you for sharing. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jen: I have just discovered your comment here and feel bad about taking WAY TOO LONG to respond. I think I need to check my own blog a lot more often, right? Not to mention, posting more frequently. The Lord has been dealing with me about that recently. As to the song, I have the same response–crying easily when it plays. After I recently viewed the photos of your gorgeous wedding, I can so hear this playing in the background. Hayden’s family is strong in the Lord, thankfully. His sweet memory lives on here in Plant City. It’s fun to imagine that he might be fishing up in heaven.


  2. Only God can help the family through such a tragic moment. He is faithful.


    • So true, Aunt Lois. I have attended several funerals and memorial services recently where it was evident faith had not been a part of the deceased’s life. It’s a sad and haunting situation. This family was definitely not one of those. The Holy Spirit’s presence was so tangible and we in the audience were so encouraged.


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