I am not sure how many there has been but I do know that it is too many, I have officiated quite a few funerals for babies and/or young people. Death is a reality and most of us understand it. However, when it is the death of a child it becomes much harder to wrap our heads around it. We try to find answers or rationale.
“God needed him/her more than we did”
“God wanted another angel”
“It was part of God’s plan”
I have heard these and others as reasons why something terrible has happened. I have learned to be more comfortable in the unknown and the vagueness. I find grace can be found in the acknowledgement of the pain and uncertainty and even the seeming unfairness of life. Grace is God’s gift to a hurting people and a lost people and a troubled situation.
Or maybe not! Maybe I have it all wrong. Pat Robertson is at it again! I read a story this morning where he says he would tell a grieving mother that God has a plan and could be stopping another Hitler or Stalin or the pain from a horrendous disease. So…there is that.
As I read that this morning, all I could think of were these words from Jesus, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” To me, it has always seemed clear. Children are a gift from God. We are called to draw them into the circle and love and protect them. We need to teach them of love and grace and God’s son.
It seems simple enough to me. God loved me in spite of what I have done not because of what I have done. I am a child of God. This designation is grace filled. Grace is love played out in the world. It is God’s way to let us know that we matter. God’s plan is not devastation or heartbreak. God’s plan is for the people of God to live out real community by loving each other.
I would love to be able to sit down with Pat Robertson and share stories with him of how God’s grace has impacted me. I would love to tell him about the Jesus I know. The Jesus that has surrounded devastated families with love and grace when all seemed loss. A Jesus that would never tell them that he took their child to “stop another Hitler”.
I don’t have all the answers so I will continue to err on the side of Grace. The grace that God shows me is what I want to share with the world.
Grace will find a way.