May the wondrous and majestic glory of God strengthen and enrich you this day, may you store up your treasures in Heaven.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Mat 6:19-21).This story is about the love of God, and having enough faith and trust in God to forgo earthly treasures in exchange for blessings from heaven above.
Larry and Leona Cottam were dedicated Seventh-Day Adventist parents who embodied the essence of living for, trusting, and believing fully in God. It was November of 1988, and Larry Cottam was out of work and short on money. He was formerly a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, and most recently a truck driver.
The Cottam’s had two children; 14 year old Eric and 12 year old Laura. They owned a small two story house in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, which was kept in immaculate condition. They believed strongly in living upright, holy lives, and in shielding their children from outside influences and worldly troubles.
Without an income stream, and unwilling to beg, accept handouts, or send the children to public school where free lunches would be provided, the Cottams ran out of money and food. Aside from the $3,700 they had saved up and owed as tithe, they had no liquid assets. Thus begun their family’s fast.
The fasting lasted for about 6 weeks. During their time of fasting the Cottam family continued to trust in God and rely on him as their source of sustenance. But as so commonly happens, heavenly sustenance was insufficient to provide to the material well-being of their worldly bodies. Their muscles, fat, and internal organs began to waist away and revolt against the lack of nutrients and energy. Malnutrition and “extreme emaciation” slowly set in.
By Jan 3, 1989 Eric Cottom weighed in at a mere 69 pounds, 80 pounds less than a typical child of his age and height. His body could no longer deal with the lack of food, and so on that day his earthly self passed on, leaving only the potential for heavenly redemption.
As Larry Cottam explained after the death of his son, and while intravenous lines were feeding him nutrients and sustaining his life, “I don't hold God responsible. The error was on my part, not God's, My wife and I feel terrible about Eric's death, but my faith in God is not shaken.” Amen, brother Cottam, and praise be to God almighty.
Further reading: See the following news stories for additional information concerning the story and conviction of Larry and Leono Cottam for third degree murder and reckless endangerment:
- Adventist lets starving son die
- Money was for God, not food, girl testifies
- Psychiatrist: Parents on trial tried to shelter children
- Starvation trial yields tales of abuse
- Sexual abuse denied: Trial in starvation of youth continues
- Parents convicted in son’s death: Teenager starved to death as family waited for God’s help
- Should a state's mandate trump religious beliefs?
May God bless you as you store up your treasures in Heaven.