I received a phone call the other night. For a Pastor, when the phone rings later in the evening, and you’re not expecting it, the likely probability is that it is not a call you’d like to have. The call came from a young dad in our church who was inviting me to pray for a family who recently lost their newborn baby. You read that right – a young family had just lost their newborn baby – she died hours after she was born. And my heart sank.
It’s difficult to not carry the burdens personally as a pastor.
To be clear, I didn’t not know this couple, and I probably won’t ever meet them on this side of heaven, but I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I’m sitting on our bed, looking at the pack-n-play of my newborn daughter and thought about this young couple going home to an empty baby crib in which that little package of love was going to sleep in the coming weeks and year. And I thought…
We got to drive home, and place Talitha in that pack-n-play.
We got to dress her in her newborn clothes with her newborn beanie.
We got to have friends dote over her.
We got to come home to two little girls squealing in excitement.
We got to bring home our baby.
That night I just held Talitha. I wondered how I would have felt if we were in this family I was now praying for. What if God had taken this child? I mean, Talitha is a month old. This young couple, their story could have been ours! Oh what grief! Oh what sorrow!
So that night, I took some time to think about what I would be the most upset about if it had been her. What would bother me if Talitha had not come home with us from the hospital?
I think it would have bothered me the most that she would never know in this life,just how much her daddy loved her and was willing to sacrifice himself for her.
But isn’t that the tragedy today? People are living this life without the knowledge of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. Those who do not know Jesus do not know how much the Father loves them. I mean, our God demonstrated or showed His love to the least deserving, least aware, least grateful, the least of these. He GAVE his ONLY Son who “died for us!” It makes so much more sense now why the Bible says, greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, ESV)
It’s why we should stand back amazed at God’s grace. It’s why we should never take for granted His love and grace – and how extravagant it really is. I mean, it should change our posture as a people. It certainly changes the posture of this pastor.