This morning, there is a family grieving the loss of their infant baby girl. Anna Joy was born with a major heart defect. Just like our son (although not the same defect). She immediately had to endure a surgery that could potentially save her life — until the next surgery. Just like our son. As I have read their blog over the past couple of weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the memories. I know what it’s like to see your baby hooked up to every contraption imagineable. I know what it’s like to watch helplessly as they are wheeled away to surgery. I know what it’s like to be in the hospital during the holidays. I know what it’s like to watch the doctors scratch their heads and declare that there is little more they can do for your baby. I know what it’s like to cry out to God, “Please don’t make me bury an infant”. What I don’t know is what it’s like to come home from the hospital without my baby. It’s times like this that I am overwhelmed with “survivor’s guilt”. I’ve experienced it other times as well as dear friends of mine have lost their children…and each time I wonder why. Why was their child taken and not mine? I remember finding very little comfort in well-meaning Christians telling me that God’s ways are perfect. In fact, it makes me mad. “NO!”, I want to scream. This is not perfect. Death is not perfect. The God I believe in is grieving along with me. This was not how it was meant to be. Creation, as God intended, has been broken.
I’m not saying that God’s ways are not perfect. As Christians, we believe that He works out all things for good (Romans 8:28). But, sometimes we cannot see the good, especially when we are in the midst of heartbreak. I once heard an analogy about a quilt. We see our lives as the front of the quilt, with just the patterns showing. But if we look under the backing, we would see all of the threads and knots that were needed to make the finished product. Still, not much consolation to a grieving parent.
And, then I remember Christmas. The day that we celebrate the birth of God’s son, who was to be the Savior of the world. Jesus was sent to right the wrongs and restore all things to perfection – to the way God intended them to be. To abolish death (2 Timothy 1:10) To give us eternal life so that we would never again have to grieve death (John 3:16).
Does any of this make it easier to grieve the death of a child? Absolutely not. But, it gives us hope. A reminder that there is light in darkness (John 1:15).
Please lift this family up in thought and prayer. Because as a friend put it, in comparison to this, we don’t actually have any problems. Light a candle tonight and say to the darkness, “we beg to differ” (Mary Jo Leddy).
And then listen to this song, written by a friend of ours, about the love, peace and joy that Jesus brings.