We held our baby, prayed over him, and said our goodbyes. But even in that moment we were filled with peace. Joy even (I wouldn’t call it happiness). Because we believe — do I dare say know? — that he’s with Jesus. He’s whole and healthy and peaceful. He awoke to the wonder of eternity and the loving face of his only perfect father.
I don’t like statements like “He was spared the troubles of this earthly life.” That may be true, but it’s only half the story. There are troubles aplenty, but there is exquisite beauty too. Beauty in getting to know Jesus through faith; beauty in experiencing day by day his redemption from corruption and sin; beauty in loving your spouse and children and growing up with your parents and siblings; beauty in forgiveness and grace.
Is it better to leave this life before you know its trials and beauties? It was better for Luke. Somehow, in ways we will never fully understand in this life. And somehow, somehow saying goodbye to our son too soon will be good for us, too. “All things…” God says.
Does that sound cold or religious? Is it an empty consolation?
I hate that we will never see him grow up. As we saw his little shape on the sonogram that confirmed his death, all I could think was that I would never get to change his diapers and squeeze his chubby baby legs. My hands ache to cradle his soft little infant head and watch it bob as he learns how to hold it up. My ears want to hear those first little sounds that babies make when they’re finding their voice.
I wanted-wanted-wanted to watch him wrestle and laugh with his brothers and follow their transformation from gawky squeaky-voiced teenagers to grown men. And to see his big sister boss and mother him the way little big sisters do.
It’s not a trite and meaningless verse we quote to comfort ourselves. “All things…” It’s a desperate plea to a trustworthy God. Our baby has died. We won’t get him back in this life. It’s happened. We would never have chosen it.
But, God, please don’t waste it.
Teach us, mature us, soften us, reshape us, prune us, redeem us. Show us more of yourself. Be glorified. Help us love our living children better. You gave us this boy for a reason, his life had meaning, and we want all of it.