A devotion for those who have experienced miscarriage, death shortly after birth, or a stillborn birth.
From Visitation: Resources for the Care of Souls, Concordia Publishing House.
Provided by Rev. Andrew Utecht, Our Savior Lutheran Church of Valentine
[David] said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23)
It seems the most terrible of injustices that a baby, barely knit together in the womb, should die. For those who have lived to 70 or more, we say, “At least she lived to a good old age.” Even when young people die, we have memories of the games they played or the work they did. We knew them as individuals. Why does God take the helpless and leave those who are practiced in their sin? Why does He let parents outlive children?
We should know that your baby is not in pain or suffering. We may share David’s hope that his uncircumcised newborn infant is with the Lord (2 Samuel 12:23). We, like David, know that God is a God of mercy and loving-kindness. He binds us to Baptism as the means of grace appropriate for bringing faith and forgiveness to infants, but God may have a method that He does not reveal to us whereby He works faith in infants of the faithful who for some reason could not be baptized. Because we do not know, we should not neglect baptizing infants. God’s will is always for the best, and we do know that it is the will of our Savior, Jesus, to receive even infants (Luke 18:15).
Indeed, your baby is not suffering. Could there be anything better for your child than to be knit together according to the Lord’s handiwork and then to be received into His eternal kingdom? We on this earth have months or years of toil and hardship yet to endure, and we see Jesus only by faith. We may hope your child sees Him now, face-to-face, that your child is comforted now, even if we are not fully.
Our Lord Jesus Christ does remain with us to comfort us in our sorrow. He was conceived and knit together in Mary’s womb, born as an infant to redeem even infants, and suffered on the cross to receive into Himself the suffering of all people. He receives your sorrow now and unites you to Himself- and, we may presume, to your baby – then you gather with all the company of heaven in the worship of His Church and sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and eat and drink His body and blood. Our Lord is with you even as He prepares a place for you and promised you, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Almighty God, by the death of Your Son Jesus Christ You destroyed death and redeemed and saved Your little ones. By His bodily resurrection You brought life and immortality to light so that all who die in Him abide in peace and hope. Receive our thanks for the victory over death and the grave that He won for us. Keep us in everlasting communion with all who wait for Him on earth and with all in heaven who are with Him, for He is the resurrection and the life, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful.
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.