|Photo by Warrick Moore|
Jesus loves us all very much - so much so that he was willing to die for us. We understand the concept of life and death - that people grow old and die, it's part of life. We know that if they believe and have accepted Christ that they are waiting for us in heaven. The circle of life is not lost on adults. We know its coming. Grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, siblings and friends - we expect it. It will happen and it someday will happen to us.
When my daughter was baptized (as an infant) - the pastor said something to my husband and I that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up - as he handed her back to me, after taking her up to the altar for a blessing, he said "Love her for as long as God gives you to her, and her to you".
Nothing on earth is as devastating as the loss of a child. We aren't designed to bury our children. How do you comfort someone who has lost a child? How do you tell them (and make them believe) they've lived their life? What words could possibly ease their burden?
Growing up I saw friends die, I saw their parents die. I attended the funeral of my great-grandmother. The words we offer are "I'm sorry for your loss", but we cannot even begin to understand that loss unless we've suffered it. I learned this at my mom's funeral. I sought out those who had suffered the same loss.
Don't be ashamed to say "I'm sorry - I don't know your pain". Offer them instead a hand, a shoulder and comfort them the best way you know how. John Donne's poem tells us to "ask not for whom the bell tolls" reminds us that we should never take anything in this world for granted. Eighteen years ago, God took a child from one mother, but gave a mother back to four children who had sadly been taken for granted. I'm sure that not a day goes by that she is not thought of, loved and missed. I think of her often and what this little angel gave to me.
So remember, that although the kingdom of heaven belongs to believers in Christ - it belongs to those children - those not able to comprehend and accept God, those who have yet to understand the sacrifice made on their behalf. They go to Jesus, regardless. He holds them in his arms for all eternity. They are safe and they are loved. As much as you love that child you are holding, or that child you watched grow into adulthood - remember one thing, as hard as this may be to believe - God loves them more!