Little Baby E was born to eternal life last week on March 11th. It was also his birthday, the actual day that we was born: March 11, 2019. At the 35th week of gestation, his birth was awaited with great joy and anticipation by those who already loved him. His stillborn birth was a shock and a terrible loss to his mother and the rest of her family and friends.
I attended E’s visitation this morning, got to meet his mother. I looked at his tiny body laid in the wooden bassinet-like coffin. I cried. I didn’t get to meet Baby E and only met his mom this morning. She is a lovely young woman, very gracious to the guests who had gathered to mourn with her and to celebrate the beginning of her son’s eternal life with the Lord. She compared his arrival and sudden, unexpected departure to that of a “beautiful comet or shooting star flashing with all (its) beauty…” Like I said, she’s a lovely woman, inside and out.
I knew about E and his mom because of a ministry I have recently become involved with, 29:eleven Maternity Home. 29:eleven is named in honor of the 29th chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. Verse 11 tells us something of God’s heart for each of us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This ministry seeks to accompany pregnant women who do not have the resources or may not have the support they need to carry and deliver their babies on their own. And 29:eleven helps these young moms complete their educations, find jobs, find childcare, and more. It is the ideal model of what the Culture of Life should and often does for women in this situation. Little E was born twice on the March 11th. Born into the world from his mother’s womb and born into eternal life with his and our Heavenly Father.
We can and should ask ‘why?’ And we can get angry with God whose ways are high above our limited, mortal understanding. He knows our hearts anyway so there is no need to try to hide anything from God. But we can also pray for peace and healing for E’s mother and her family and friends who grieve with her. We can love one another more intentionally, we can help other children and their parents to deal with the challenges that life will inevitably inflict upon them. Baby E can be a reminder of the frailty of our human existence, and of its brevity. Even 70, 80, 90 years is brief in the context of eternity.
So we face our mortality a bit more seriously today. We face our need to be merciful and generous and compassionate a bit more urgently today. At least, I hope we do. And, as we do, we can contemplate a baby who never got to do the many things children do, nor will he ever endure any of the suffering of which our earthly life consists. But he won’t experience any of the fun parts of childhood, either. We might think he would gladly endure some suffering to have the chance to grow up and to grow old. And that is worth remembering, also. But I hope there is comfort when we recall that E is home now where “every tear will be wiped away,” as we’re told in the Book of Revelation. The passage goes on to say, “…There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,” which we should cling to whenever we are lamenting a loss, especially of a child.
Our consolation is in God’s promises. We want to be there, too, one glorious day. And when we get there, we will meet E and so many other babies who never got to see the light of day on this earth, whether through an untimely death or the tragic act of abortion. They are continually worshiping in the halls of Heaven, praising and adoring our God and they will delightfully, completely rejoice in their reunion with their loved ones one bright and glorious day. And, for the women who have lost their babies, however and at whatever stage or age that occurred, we should remember that God is weeping with them in their sorrow. Just as he smiles with us during joyful times. We need to be there for them, as well. Always. “Love them both” is a phrase I read on a pro-life website recently and that is what we must do.
Does the loss of someone in your life or just the learning of the loss of life for someone else make you pause and think about your own existence, purpose, and brief time here? What does God want you to do with the time you have? What would you like to do? Can you take a little time to consider the loss of life even if it that life was unwelcome? God has given us people with amazing hearts for women and children to help care for them both, to love them both. The grief over the loss of one of His little ones should impact us all. We should be able to care about both lives, woman and child, in every instance.